December 03, 2007 at 06:00 AM EST
Zacks Analyst Interview Highlights: Amgen, GlaxoSmithKline and Lexicon Pharmaceuticals

Zacks.com releases the latest Analyst Interview. Todays interview is with senior analyst Grant Zeng, who discusses Amgen (Nasdaq: AMGN), GlaxoSmithKline (NYSE: GSK) and Lexicon Pharmaceuticals Inc. (Nasdaq: LXRX).

A synopsis of todays Analyst Interview is presented below. The full article can be read at www.zacks.com.

What aspects in the biotech market surprised you the most this year?

One surprise in the biotech market is the tightening of the safety issue. Two high profile cases were Amgens (Nasdaq: AMGN) blockbuster anemia drug Epogen/Aranesp and GlaxoSmithKlines (NYSE: GSK) multibillion dollar diabetes drug Avandia. The FDA issued warnings for both drugs, leading to dramatically reduced sales this year. We expect the safety issue will once again impact the industry in 2008; individual companies will continue to have to deal with how to handle drug safety.

Do you have any top Buy recommendations to make for 2008 at this time?

For 2008, we have a Buy recommendation for Lexicon Pharmaceuticals Inc. (Nasdaq: LXRX). This is a small-cap biotech company specializing in gene-targeting technology. Using its proprietary gene knockout technology, the company has finished more than 82% of its Genome 5000 project so far, and has discovered more than 150 drug targets.

The company has initiated a 10TO10 drug development program, which means that the company will move 10 drug candidates into clinical development by 2010. We believe gene knockout technology is a viable platform and has advantages over traditional drug discovering technology to identify novel drug targets. We believe these advantages will contribute to better target selection and, therefore, to the success of Lexicons drug discovery and development efforts.

We believe the share price will continue to be volatile in 2008 due to its early stage of drug development and risks associated with drug research and development, but we also believe LXRX is an undervalued company based on its fundamentals. We encourage long-term investors to accumulate its shares at current levels, and our one-year price target is $6.5 per share.

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