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Human Genome Sciences Tags New Low, Suffers Price-Target Reduction

HGSI faces litigation surrounding misleading claims about its potential lupus treatment

by 11/22/2011 12:30:48 PM
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Earlier today, yet another class-action lawsuit was filed against Human Genome Sciences, Inc. (HGSI - 7.49). The newest suit alleges that the biotech firm made false and misleading statements about Benlysta, a potential new treatment for lupus, failing to disclose that the drug was associated with suicide.

Separately, Stifel lowered its price target for HGSI to $15 from $17. There could be additional price-target cuts in store for HGSI. Thomson Reuters places the average 12-month price target at $18.12, representing a whopping 143% premium to today's multi-year low of $7.45.

Meanwhile, the majority of analysts interested in the Rockville, Md.-based company are bullish. Zacks tallies 11 "buy" or better endorsements, compared to five "hold" or worse recommendations.

There is plenty of negativity elsewhere on Wall Street, however. Short interest rocketed by 21.4% during the past month, and now represents 10.2% of HGSI's available float.

Even the options arena is loaded with pessimism. During the past two weeks, speculators on the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) have bought to open 0.74 put for every call. This ratio ranks above 86% of all other readings taken during the past year, suggesting that options traders have bought puts over calls at a faster clip than usual.

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