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Sage Therapeutics Upgraded on Potential for Depression Drug

Wedbush analyst Laura Chico upgraded Sage Therapeutics to outperform on the potential of a developmental drug to treat depression.
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Sage Therapeutics  (SAGE) - Get Free Report shares rose Friday after Wedbush analyst Laura Chico raised her rating on the biopharmaceutical company to outperform from neutral and lifted her share-price target to $64 from $40.

She’s enthusiastic about zuranolone, the company’s developmental drug to treat depression. 

Sage is evaluating the potential of zuranolone as a rapid-acting, short-course treatment for post-partum depression and major depressive disorder.

Sage shares recently traded at $56.22, up 3.6%, and have surged 24% since Aug. 27. But the stock has fallen 20% in 2020 to date.

Sage reported a second-quarter net loss of $136.3 million, or $2.63 a share, narrowing from a loss of $168.2 million, or $3.28 a share, for the year-earlier period. Revenue rose to $1.1 million from $873,000.

In April, the company said it was laying off 340, or 53%, of its staffers, seeking to shore up its balance sheet amid challenges posed by the coronavirus. Sage also said it was slashing external expenses.

The company said it expected to save $170 million a year through the moves, with $150 million attributed to reducing selling, general and administrative costs.

Sage said the cuts were mainly focused on the operations and related support functions for its Zulresso, generically brexanolone, a treatment for new mothers experiencing postpartum depression. 

"The headwinds we are facing individually and collectively, along with our recognition of our need to move forward as a company, have led to this difficult decision," said Jeff Jonas, a physician who is chief executive of Sage, in a statement.