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Why Incyte Corporation Shares Crashed

Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

What: Shares of Incyte Corporation (NASDAQ: INCY  ) are trading roughly 10% lower today after posting abstracts for its flagship drug Jakafi for discussion at the upcoming meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO).

So what: Incyte was one of many companies seeking to present data at the ASCO meeting, and it's moving to promote Jakafi -- currently approved to treat myelofybrosis -- for a broader range of treatments. However, Fool biotech specialist George Budwell notes that Incyte's abstract fails to show a significant benefit in treating pancreatic cancer with Jakafi, and there's been a flood of analyst notes in the wake of this publication. Nomura remains a buyer  of Incyte, and Oppenheimer believes that today's drop was "unjustified," but Piper Jaffray called the company's abstracts "anticlimactic" and Morgan Stanley analysts reiterated their sell rating and extremely low $14 price target after reading the abstracts.

Now what: Incyte has an extraordinarily high market cap for a company with only one approved drug, and analyst opinions are so widely dispersed that there's nothing resembling real consensus on the strength of its pipeline. Shares are still holding onto a double for the past year, even after sagging from a near-triple since the start of this year, and the company's price-to-sales is a sky-high 25, so there may not be much upside left. I'd wait on the sidelines until stronger data emerges on Jakafi's efficacy in treating other cancers, or until baricitinb (Incyte's rheumatoid arthritis treatment) reaches the end of its phase 3 trials.

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Alex Planes

Alex Planes specializes in the deep analysis of tech, energy, and retail companies, with a particular focus on the ways new or proposed technologies can (and will) shape the future. He is also a dedicated student of financial and business history, often drawing on major events from the past to help readers better understand what's happening today and what might happen tomorrow.

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