December 15th, 2015

Morgan Stanley double-upgrades Biogen and says the stock can surge another 30% (BIIB)

  • Morgan Stanley on Monday upgraded Biogen from underweight to overweight — a rare double upgrade — citing compelling risk versus reward in the long-term. 
  • The firm also boosted its price target on Biogen to $357 from $263. The new target price represents a more than 30% upside from where Biogen traded at Friday's close. 
  • Shares of Biogen gained nearly 5% on Monday. 
  • Watch Biogen trade live on Markets Insider. 
  • Read more on Business Insider. 

Biogen got a rare double upgrade on Monday from Morgan Stanley, which boosted its rating on the company to overweight from underweight citing compelling long-term risk versus reward. 

Morgan Stanley also boosted its Biogen price target to $357 from $263. The new figure is more than 30% higher than Biogen's Friday closing price. 

Shares of Biogen jumped nearly 5% during intraday trading Monday. 

"In the near-term, we believe BIIB is likely to face 10%+ in downside pressure due to multiple at-risk generic launches for multiple sclerosis (MS) drug Tecfidera," analysts led by Matthew Harrison wrote Monday.

He continued: "However, we expect investors to quickly look past the Tecfidera downside and start to price in higher odds of success for aducanumab, Biogen's investigational drug which is the first potential disease-modifying therapy for Alzheimer's disease." 

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Morgan Stanley said that it believes investors are currently pricing in a less than 25% probability of success, but that will increase to at least 50% as the drug moves closer to its potential FDA approval date, expected in March 2021. 

Investors who take a "wait-and-see approach" could miss a potential up to 20% move in the near term for Biogen, according to the note. 

"While BIIB remains a high-risk/ high-reward stock, we think now is the right time to take the risk," said Harrison. 

Biogen has shed roughly 5% year-to-date

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