was downgraded by Merrill Lynch Thursday morning amid concerns relating to the launch of Preos, its treatment for osteoporosis.
The brokerage house cut its rating on the drug company to near-term buy from strong buy, saying it believes the timing of Preos' launch is no longer certain. Merrill says last night's 10-Q release from NPS showed that a recent problem at a contract manufacturer has resulted in NPS only having enough Preos to meet its clinical trial requirements into the third quarter. Merrill believes this shortage could ultimately delay the drug's commercial launch.
Shares of NPS were falling 14% to $27 in premarket trading on the news after closing at $31.43 Wednesday.