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DB Analyst Gets It: Sarepta Is a Winner Even Without Accelerated Approval

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. ( TheStreet) -- Deutsche Bank biotech analyst Robyn Karnauskas picks up coverage of Sarepta Therapeutics (SRPT - Get Report) today with a buy rating. What I like best about her initial note is that she's shrugging off the eteplirsen accelerated approval filing controversy that so many of us are fixated on currently (I'm as guilty as the next guy) and focusing instead on the stock's long-term value.

"Fundamentally, timing of approval does not matter in our view," Karnauskas writes, "but we do expect volatility around this decision. Clarity comes in March/April 2013... Bottom line: Sarepta looks effective & safer vs. its competition. There is tremendous upside to increased investor confidence in this technology, as well as expansion into other exons. This makes the company unique in small cap biotech space."

Sarepta could fall to $25 per share if FDA doesn't allow the company to file for accelerated approval of eteplirsen, Karnauskas forecasts. [The stock closed Monday at $33.] I try not to take analyst price targets too seriously. The directional trend is more significant. For Sarepta, what Karnauskas is telling clients (and I agree with her) is panic selling will be bought. If momentum investors and day traders want to pitch Sarepta overboard, there are plenty of fundamental healthcare investors who will gladly buy their shares on the cheap.

This is the same level-headed Sarepta bull thesis articulated earlier this month by healthcare investor and TheStreet contributor Dan Rosenblum:

A lot of investors are obsessed with the question of "Will Sarepa Therapeutics receive accelerated approval for eteplirsen?" The focus on the outcome of this month's meeting between Sarepta and FDA is understandable but misses a broader point: Sarepta at its current stock price is undervalued even if eteplirsen accelerated approval is not granted.

And what happens if FDA tells Sarepta to file for accelerated approval? No surprise, the stock goes higher. Karnauskas' prediction: $48-71 per share. That's a ridiculously wide price range but again, the direction is all that matters and it's to the upside, sharply. She's right.

-- Reported by Adam Feuerstein in Boston.  

Follow Adam Feuerstein on Twitter.
Adam Feuerstein writes regularly for TheStreet. In keeping with company editorial policy, he doesn't own or short individual stocks, although he owns stock in TheStreet. He also doesn't invest in hedge funds or other private investment partnerships. Feuerstein appreciates your feedback; click here to send him an email.

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