Portola Pharmaceuticals: Is There Further Upside?

  • Portola has two potential blockbuster drugs in its portfolio.
  • Based on the potential of Bevyxxa and AndexXa, the stock still has some upside.
  • Main risk to the bullish case is AndexXa failing to get a regulatory nod.

By S. Mitra, MBA (ISB)

It has been a remarkable comeback for Portola Pharmaceuticals (PTLA). The stock had been beaten down in the biotech sell-off of early 2016 and continued to struggle as betrixaban results disappointed investors. However, Portola recently got a nod from the FDA for betrixaban (brand name Bevyxxa). The approval did raise some questions as the trial results released last year were not exceptional. But now that Bevyxxa is in the market, Portola has a strong chance of finding commercial success. Then there is andexanet alfa (AndexXa), a potential antidote for factor Xa inhibitors. AndexXa addresses an unmet medical need. While the drug was rejected by the FDA last year, there is a strong chance for approval the second time around. Based on the combined commercial potential of the two drugs, there is still further upside in Portola despite the recent surge.

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