First Albany Cuts Ligand Pharma to Neutral

Analyst David Webber says the pharmaceutical company has missed estimates for three consecutive quarters

First Albany cuts Ligand Pharmaceuticals (LGND ) to neutral.

Analyst David Webber says this is the third badly-missed quarter in a row, with a 9-cent third-quarter loss, vs. his 5-cent loss estimate. Most significantly, he notes net sales of painkiller Avinza totaled $28 million, vs. his $35 million estimate.

Webber also notes the company cut its 2004 view deeply, to product sales of $170 million to $180 million, total revenues of $216 million to $231 million, gross margin of 76% to 77%, overhead of $166 million to $170 million, and basic earnings per share of 3 cents to 9 cents (vs. 12 cents to 17 cents seen earlier).

He narrows his 31-cent 2004 loss estimate to a 14-cent loss for accelerated investment by Royalty Pharma, but cuts his 38 cents 2005 earnings per share to 22 cents earnings per share, and cuts his $17 target to $8.50.

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