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 in Supernus Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:SUPN) jumped by 10% earlier today after SunTrust Robinson Humphrey initiated coverage on the company with a buy rating.
So What: First things first, investors should always take analyst ratings with a grain of salt and focus instead on their own due diligence before jumping in and buying shares, especially in the highly volatile biotechnology industry.
In the case of Supernus Pharmaceuticals, however, analysts may be onto something.
The company already markets two compounds, Trokendi XR and Oxteller XR, that are used to treat epilepsy, and those drugs had combined sales of $28.1 million in the first quarter, up from just $9 million a year ago.Revenue growth was due in large part to prescriptions of Trokendi XR increasing by 187% year-over-year and by 14% quarter-of-quarter.
Because Supernus Pharmaceuticals was able to leverage rising script volume against fixed costs, EPS came in at $0.02 in the first quarter, leading the company to reaffirm guidance for full year sales of between $130 million and $140 million and operating income of between $6 million and $10 million.
Now What: The profit forecast comes even as the company is investing significantly more into the development of its product pipeline, which includes two therapies for the treatment of ADHD.
Supernus Pharmaceuticals estimates that costs associated with a phase 3 trial of SPN-810 for impulsive aggression in ADHD patients and a phase 2 trial for SPN-812 for ADHD -- both of which are slated to begin in the fourth quarter -- will push its spending on R&D up 50% this year.
If the company can continue to drive script volume higher, it should be able to digest the planned spending increases, and if so, then this company may be worth keeping on investors' radar -- especially given that forecasts suggest that its EPS could expand from $0.13 this year to $0.78 next year.