First Albany Upgrades Impax Laboratories to 'Buy'

Analyst Adam Greene now sees an earlier launch for the drug maker's painkiller

First Albany upgraded Impax Laboratories (IPXL ) to buy from neutral.

Analyst Adam Greene says the upgrade follows news Monday that a judge in the Southern District of New York ruled three Oxycontin patents to be invalid and unenforceable in favor of Endo Pharmaceuticals. Greene finds this news extremely positive for both Impax and Teva Pharmaceuticals; each company has its own abbreviated new-drug application pending, and the ruling removes a remaining legal hurdle.

Greene says the news accelerates the anticipated timing of the launch for Impax by almost a year; he had initially assumed a launch during the second half of 2005, and he's now adding sales to his model of Impax starting in the third-quarter of 2004. He upped the 74 cents 2004 earnings per share estimate to 96 cents (62 cents when taxed at 35%), and upped the $15 target to $19.

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