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Ascendis Stock Jumps as FDA Clears Growth-Hormone Treatment

Ascendis Pharma jumps after the FDA clears its pediatric-growth-hormone treatment for marketing and analysts issue bullish comments.
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Ascendis Pharma  (ASND) - Get Ascendis Pharma A/S Sponsored ADR Report shares jumped on Thursday after the company said the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Skytrofa, its once-weekly treatment for pediatric growth hormone deficiency. 

Shares of Ascendis Pharma at last check were 26% higher at $155.28. 

Analysts see the approval as a big market opportunity for the Hellerup, Denmark, company globally, according to notes compiled by Bloomberg. 

Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Alethia Young raised her price target to $214 a share from $201 and reiterated an overweight rating on the company. 

"There is broad enthusiasm among patients and physicians for a weekly regimen. With a weekly injection, patients can experience 86% fewer injections per year," Fitzgerald said. 

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Wedbush analyst Liana Moussatos rates the company outperform with a $187 price target as the company's focus is "shifting quickly" to commercial launch details for its newly approved drug. 

"While we continue to see Skytrofa's blockbuster potential by 2024, we acknowledge the likelihood for early launch hurdles to robust adoption as the company builds the necessary commercial infrastructure," she said.

SVB Leerink analyst Joseph Schwartz raised his price target to $182 from $178 while maintaining his outperform rating. 

Ascendis is "the first long-acting growth hormone agent in the highly fragmented growth hormone market," Schwartz said. "Ascendis appears to be in discussions with payers and plans to disclose the price at a later time."

The company said the once-weekly treatment could reduce treatment burden for pediatric patients one year and older who weigh at least 25.4 pounds and don't grow due to inadequate secretion of endogenous growth hormone.