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Needham Ups Epix Medical to 'Strong Buy'

Epix Medical (EPIX) says Phase III clinical trials of MS-325 met primary endpoint, demonstrating statistically significant improvement in accuracy for detecting renal and pedal vascular disease. Needham upgraded the stock to strong buy.

Analyst Dalton Chandler tells S&P MarketScope that the Phase III trial was not only outstanding, but reported sooner than anticipated, which could lead to earlier approval of MS-325. He moved up his forecast for commercialization of the drug by one quarter to the first quarter of 2005. He notes in addition to taking market share in 4.8 million procedures performed domestically in 2002, the safety and ease of application of MRA using MS-325 is likely to expand the number of procedures performed.

Chandler sees $1.14 2003 loss per share, and $1.18 2004 loss per share, as the company still doesn't have an approved drug on the market. He raised $17 price target on the stock to $24.

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