Incyte (INCY) has been one of the big movers in the biotech rally after Donald Trump’s victory in the November 8 presidential election. The stock is up 26.7% from the close on November 3 to the close today, November 17. (Incyte is a member of my Jubak Picks portfolio. The shares are up 126.2% since I added them to the portfolio on April 17, 2014.)
The latest bump–a gain of 4.77% today–came on news that the result of a clinical trial for momelotinib, a drug candidate from Gilead Sciences (GILD), had produced mixed results. Gilead had been hoping that momelotinib would be able to unseat Incyte’s JAK inhibitor drug Jakafi. In head to head trials the two drugs were roughly equal after 24 weeks in terms of splenic response, but Gilead’s candidate fell short in total symptom score. (JAK inhibitors work to block a family of enzymes and are lead drug candidates in treating certain cancers and inflammatory diseases.)
Not only are the results good news for Incyte’s Jakafi, but Wall Street immediately began talking today about the $100 billion market cap Gilead buying the $20 billion market cap Incyte. So far this is just speculation by clever analysts, but, hey, ya never know.
But it’s not like Incyte hasn’t been reporting good news of its own. On November 14 Incyte and partner Eli Lilly (LLY) reported the results of two Phase III trails of baricitinib against AbbVie’s (ABBV) Humira, which, if you watch any TV at all, you’ll know as the monster market leader in treating inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis. In trials against a placebo and against Humira, patients receiving treatment with baricitinib showed significant improvements in joint pain, severity of morning joint stiffness and tiredness. If barbaricitinib can take some market share against Humira that would be a huge deal.
In other Incyte news the company reported that Jakafi revenue climbed to $224 million, up 39% year over year, and raised its guidance for Jakafi sales to $850-$855 million from a previous $825-$835 million. At the same time the company lowered R&D expense guidance to $570-$580 million from $620-$630 million. That promises that Incyte will turn profitable in 2017.
The company also announced a huge slate of 20 abstracts with clinical data for the upcoming meeting of the American Society of Hematology from December 3-6.
As of today, November 17, I’m raising my target price on Incyte to $125 from the current $108 per share. (That target does not include any premium for a possible takeover attempt–since that remains purely speculative.)
Full disclosure: I own shares of Incyte in my personal portfolio.