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First Albany Downgrades Anika Therapeutics

First Albany downgraded Anika Therapeutics (ANIK) to neutral from buy. On Friday, the company posted 8 cents third-quarter earnings per share on a 52% revenue rise and said OrthoVisc traction in the U.S. market to date has been slower than the company would like.

Analyst William Plovanic says the company's third quarter was strong, but he thinks significant issues will overhang the stock in the near term, including uncertainties surrounding both reimbursement levels and end-user adoption rates. He says slower-than-expected uptake of OrthoVisc in the U.S. is disappointing. Also, he finds Anika shares fully valued at present valuations considering the near-term risks.

Plovanic cut his EPS estimates from 26 cents for 2004 to 25 cents, and 41 cents for 2005 to 26 cents. He also trimmed his $15 price target to $11.40.

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