Needham Upgrades Esperion to 'Strong Buy'

Analyst Mark Monane expects partnership news and pipeline progression for the cholesterol-drug therapy company

Needham upgraded Esperion Therapeutics (ESPR ) to strong buy from buy.

On Thursday Esperion reported initial Phase II clinical study results on its ETC-216 drug. Analyst Mark Monane says the results showed regression of coronary plaque volume, and provided the first evidence from a drug in Esperion's focused high-density lipoprotein (HDL) therapy pipeline in regard to the clinical effects on coronary artery disease.

He sees potential validation for Esperion's entire portfolio approach of HDL therapy. Following the positive results, Monane expects partnership news and pipeline progression over the next 6 months to 12 months. He sees a 73-cent 2003 loss; he has a $25 12-month target.

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