Debt-laden Valeant Pharmaceuticals (VRX) appears to have Wall Street pitted against itself.
After dipping more than 9% Wednesday -- following a Real Money report that short-seller Andrew Left is once again shorting the drugmaker, and news that Sequoia Fund and former CEO Michael Pearson have dropped major positions -- Valeant shares recovered nearly 5% to about $22.67 in midday trading Thursday.
Meanwhile, bulls are predicting that just as Valeant prepares to slap a for-sale sign on several of its businesses, a new lineup of soon-to-be-approved pipeline drugs will help shore up more cash than Wall Street expects -- not to mention restore Valeant's tarnished credibility.
Valeant could bring in about $1.5 billion in new annual sales if a trio of drugs obtain Food and Drug Administration approval by the end of this month -- and it's very likely all three will, Rodman & Renshaw managing director Raghuram Selvaraju said in a Thursday phone interview with Real Money.
What's more, the three drugs could fatten Valeant's bottom line as soon as the fourth quarter, with few added sales-and-marketing expenses because of overlaps with similar Valeant products, Selvaraju added. (Rodman & Renshaw, a unit of H.C. Wainwright, maintains a Buy rating on Valeant and $90 price target.)
For example, glaucoma treatment Latanoprostene bunod could easily integrate into Valeant's Bausch & Lomb businesses, just as fellow pipeline drugs Relistor Oral, a treatment for constipation, and psoriasis treatment Brodalumab could integrate with marketing teams at Valeant's Salix and dermatology businesses, respectively.
"These are three potentially positive catalysts that could resurrect investor faith that Valeant can do meaningful R&D without having to engage in a serial acquisition drive," Selvaraju added, noting that if Valeant's second-quarter earnings are in line with guidance Valeant's "fear cloud will rapidly evaporate," and could send shares quickly as high as $35.
And TD Securities analyst Lennox Gibbs agrees, noting in a Thursday report that at least Latanoprostene bunod and Relistor Oral will almost certainly obtain FDA approval over the next two weeks. Gibbs added that the drugs are likely to be "new growth engines" and "high-profile successes" for Valeant's profile.
The third drug, Brodalumab, may face "a tougher review process," due to underwhelming results in its recent Phase 3 trials, Gibbs added. (TD Securities maintains a Hold rating on Valeant and $38 price target.)
"I would continue to avoid Valeant," Kass added, calling it a "value trap" and noting the "prospects for VRX's profits and stock price remain highly uncertain."And analysts with Wells Fargo Securities said Wednesday that former CEO Michael Pearson's decision to offload about 4.8 million shares is a negative indicator, as Pearson likely "had insight into the state of the business." (Wells Fargo Securities maintains an Underperform rating on Valeant, despite an Overweight rating in the specialty pharmaceuticals sector, and a $17 to $22 valuation range.)