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Is Now a Good Time To Buy Neurocrine Biosciences?

By Jim Halley - May 14, 2020 at 6:27AM

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The biopharmaceutical company has seen shares rise 44.5% in less than two months.

Neurocrine Biosciences (NBIX 0.71%) had a big day Tuesday, the latest in a string of good days. Since the stock bottomed out at $75.11 almost two months ago, it climbed as high as $119.65 on Tuesday, a jump of 44.5%, though it closed at $112.60. This is a run that may continue, despite any short-term coronavirus headwinds. Here's why.

The company had solid first-quarter earnings

On May 6, the San Diego-based biopharmaceutical posted its first-quarter earnings, and investors salivated at revenue of $237.1 million compared with $138.4 million in the same quarter last year. Net income hit $37.4 million, and the company's cash grew to more than $1 billion. Neurocrine also doubled its number of patients over the same quarter a year ago. 

Ingrezza is funding research that should pay off

Ingrezza, the company's drug for Tardive dyskinesia (TD), brought in $231 million in revenue for 69% year-over-year growth in the first quarter. TD, characterized by involuntary jerky movements of the face and body, is a byproduct of many anti-psychotic drugs, and it affects affects 500,000 people in the U.S., according to company estimates. Ingrezza, launched in 2017, is the only daily single-dose TD drug on the market.

Stetgscope on top of several $100 bills

IMAGE SOURCE: GETTY IMAGES

It has become profitable enough to almost singlehandedly support the company's R&D efforts, but there's another drug in the pipeline, Ongentys, that should start paying off this year as well. The drug, on which Neurocrine worked with Portugese pharmaceutical company Bial, was approved by the FDA last month.

Ongentys is used as an add-on treatment to levodopa/carbidopa, a treatment for Parkinson's disease, in patients experiencing "off" episodes (when the effects of other medication wear off before a new dose can be taken). In two phase 3 trials, the drug reduced the number of off periods and added to the periods without involuntary movements (dyskinesia) compared to placebos. 

The company is also profiting nicely on royalty payments from Orilissa, which Neurocrine partnered with AbbVie (ABBV 0.37%) to produce. It is designed to help women with the pain of endometriosis, a condition in which the lining of the uterus grows outside the uterus that affects 200 million women worldwide. Neurocrine received $14.3 million last year from AbbVie in royalty payments related to Orilissa 

The company is expanding its pipeline and profits by partnering successfully with other companies, including gene therapy provider Voyager Therapeutics (VYGR -5.86%), biopharma Xenon Pharmaceuticals (XENE -0.66%), and Swiss pharma Idorsia Ltd.

On Tuesday, the FDA accepted the Investigational New Drug (IND) application for ACT-709478, a channel blocker for the treatment of a rare form of pediatric epilepsy, on which Neurocrine had worked in partnership with Idorsia. Also on Tuesday, Neurocrine announced an agreement with Idorsia for $45 million up front, plus milestone and tiered royalty payments, to develop and sell ACT-709478. 

"This collaboration demonstrates Neurocrine Biosciences' growing commitment in epilepsy and enhances our capabilities in precision medicine by targeting the underlying mechanism of disorders," said CEO Kevin Gorman in a press release. 

Headed in the right direction

The company has had eight consecutive quarters of positive non-GAAP net income. It's not afraid to work with others to expand its pipeline and has been aggressive in research and development. Given its price-to-earnings ratio of 61, all the company's positives may already be priced in, but if the price slips, healthcare investors should consider it a good long-term buy.

Jim Halley owns shares of AbbVie. The Motley Fool recommends Neurocrine Biosciences. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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Stocks Mentioned

AbbVie Inc. Stock Quote
AbbVie Inc.
ABBV
$142.60 (0.37%) $0.52
Neurocrine Biosciences, Inc. Stock Quote
Neurocrine Biosciences, Inc.
NBIX
$105.63 (0.71%) $0.75
Voyager Therapeutics Stock Quote
Voyager Therapeutics
VYGR
$6.10 (-5.86%) $0.38
Xenon Pharmaceuticals Inc. Stock Quote
Xenon Pharmaceuticals Inc.
XENE
$37.77 (-0.66%) $0.25

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

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