Salomon Raises IDEC Pharmaceuticals to 'Buy'

Analyst Elise Wang says FDA approval for the drug maker's cancer treatment came two months earlier than she expected

Salomon Smith Barney upgraded IDEC Pharmaceuticals (IDPH ) to buy from outperform.

Analyst Elise Wang says IDEC's FDA approval for Zevalin, a treatment for non-hodgkin's lymphoma, came two months earlier than she expected and was approved for broad indication. IDEC expects to start shipping the drug within about 30 to days. In addition, IDEC expects to submit an application for a Medicare reimbursement code by March 1, with approval by July 1. With earlier-than-expected approval, she raised the $38 million 2002 Zevalin sales estimate to $56 million, and raised the $83 million 2003 sales estimate to $103 million.

Wang also raised the $0.83 2002 EPS estimate to $0.86, and upped the $1.10 2003 estimate to $1.12. She has a $75 price target.

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