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Pounce On Acusphere

Acusphere (ACUS) (ACUS) took a dive on June 6, when it announced mixed results from trials of a new product. The stock, which stood at 5.64 on June 5, fell to 2.99 on June 28. Some analysts spy a chance to buy. The product in Phase 3 clinical trials is AI-700, an ultrasound contrast agent aimed at better diagnosis of heart disease. It lets doctors look at blood flow within the heart muscle, a use for which no product has yet been approved. AI-700 passed only two of three tests in the Phase 3 trials. "The stock is oversold," says David Moskowitz of Friedman, Billings, Ramsey, who rates it "outperform" with a 12-month target of 12. Investors ignored the "highly positive accuracy and specificity results in the [first part of the] trial," says Moskowitz. And the market is acting as if AI-700 won't get Food & Drug Administration approval, but that isn't so, says Deborah Knobleman of investment firm Piper Jaffray (PJC) who tags it a "buy." She expects the second part of the trials to show more favorable results. So does Alexandra H. Utterman, senior analyst at investment bank William D. Witter, which owns shares. The stock is "oversold and trading way below its intrinsic value," she says.

Note: Unless otherwise noted, neither the sources cited in Inside Wall Street nor their firms hold positions in the stocks under discussion. Similarly, they have no investment banking or other financial relationships with them.

By Gene G. Marcial

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