Amgen

(AMGN) - Get Report

, one of the biggest names in the battered biotech sector, got a boost Wednesday from

Prudential Securities

analyst John Sonnier, who upgraded the company to strong buy from accumulate, a jump of two ratings places. Sonnier also adjusted his 52-week price target to $95 from $75, citing improved fundamentals.

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Shares of Amgen were nevertheless down 31 cents, or 0.4%, to $73.56 in morning

Nasdaq

trading Wednesday.

Sonnier wrote a virtual love letter to Amgen, telling investors the company has great upside potential. Unlike its competitors, he said, it faces no patent expiration risk between 2001 and 2005. He also said that current market valuation was rather low, considering the high premium at which other large drug stocks trade and the growth potential of many of Amgen's products.

"Fundamentally, we anticipate the company to break out of its traditional two-product focus with three major drug launches this year and a fourth in the first half of 2002," Sonnier wrote. "We believe these launches will literally change the face of the company."