biotechDendreon Corp. (NASDAQ: DNDN) is seeing shares surge higher on Friday on an analyst upgrade. The move higher is part because Dendreon has a long history of boom and bust with large share price changes following. Bernstein's research team raised the rating to Outperform from Market Perform. What will really stand out is the price target being $10.00.

While shares are up 16% to $5.96, this stock closed at $5.10 yesterday and that was the basis for the price being called a double to $10.00 and also the basis for the research call. Dendreon did not make our list of the biotechs with the most upside in 2013 because of two major reasons: its market cap is now too small and its story is considered an implosion as far as the investment community is concerned. At under $6, the 52-week range is $3.69 to $17.04 and this was a much higher priced stock back when PROVENGE was getting its approvals for a last-line of defense against metastatic prostate cancer.

Another issue is that the consensus price target is down to $6.06 from Thomson Reuters. Dendreon has burned too many investors and burned too many analysts in the past for there to be any wild and crazy endorsements like we used to see where analysts would forecast a value of $25, $30, or even $40 per shares based upon PROVENGE taking over as a prostate cancer fighter, It has not and other competing treatments are available. PROVENGE is also extremely expensive even if it is reimbursed by Medicare.

The driver behind Bernstein's upgrade was channel checks. The firm cited interviews with the heavier prescribers of PROVENGE, which showed wider prescriptions being headed its way and wider recruitment of other prescribers looking to make this a norm. What really stood out was that the report claims that this might be the beginning of the end of the company's persistent woes after having been nothing short of a disaster story.

Dendreon's gains are on about 5-times normal trading volume with about two hours of trading left in the day.


Filed under: 24/7 Wall St. Wire, Analyst Calls, Biotech, Drug companies, Healthcare Tagged: DNDN

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