Specialty Pharma company Medicure (Medicure Stock Quote, Chart, News TSXV:MPH) is facing an uphill battle, says Mackie Research analyst André Uddin, who on Wednesday changed his rating from “Hold” to “Under Review” and withdrew his price target for the stock, saying that share buybacks last year might not have been the best idea.
Winnipeg-headquartered Medicure focuses on the development and commercialization of cardiovascular drugs for the US market and is currently marketing Aggrastat, Zypitamag, the ReDS device as well as cardiovascular generics, all through its US subsidiary.
Shares of Medicure were down sharply in trading on Wednesday as the market reacted to its quarterly financials, delivered on Tuesday, for the period ended March 31, 2020. The numbers showed total net revenue from the sale of products of $3.0 million compared to $4.9 million a year earlier, the bulk of which came from Aggrastat at $2.7 million (compared to sales of $4.8 million a year earlier). Adjusted EBITDA for the quarter was negative $1.3 million compared to negative $1.7 million a year ago and the net loss was $1.5 million compared to a loss of $2.8 million a year earlier.
“The Company continues to show strong patient market share with AGGRASTAT, however, the market share is offset by increased price competition caused by enhanced generic Integrilin competition, which resulted in lower discounted prices for AGGRASTAT into the first quarter of 2020,” said Medicure in a press release.
“There was also decreases in the volume of the product sold compared to 2019. The Company is beginning to see an increase in demand for ZYPITAMAGTM and expects growth in ZYPITAMAGTM revenues going forward,” the company added.
In his report, Uddin said the $3.0-million top line was under his $4.1-million estimate while the EBITDA loss of $1.3 million was in line with his forecast. As the analyst noted, MPH finished the Q1 with $12.7 million in cash or $1.17 per share and zero debt.
As for his rating change, Uddin appealed to a lack of growth visibility and a more tenuous financial status.
“Our decision was based on: (i) MPH is expected to lack meaningful growth down the road, (ii) the company has been losing money and may have difficulty in turning profitable based on the current product portfolio, (iii) continuous loss of money could negatively affect MPH’s financial stability going forward, and (iv) MPH does not have sufficient cash to make a transformative acquisition after its share buybacks in late 2019 that caused $26 million,” Uddin wrote.
“Our total MPH calls have generated a 576 per cent return since we launched coverage on September 26, 2014. We believe MPH is facing an uphill battle to reinvigorate growth. The company has no debt on its balance sheet, which we view as positive – however, MPH may still need to strengthen its balance sheet at some point down the road if it keeps losing money,” Uddin wrote.
Since hitting a high of $10.67 in 2016, Medicure’s share price has dropped fairly steadily and is now trading at $1.08 per share.