Dicerna Pharmaceuticals Stock Surges on Eli Lilly Deal

DRNA is one of the top Nasdaq stocks this morning

Oct 29, 2018 at 9:53 AM
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The shares of Dicerna Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:DRNA) are trading near the top of the Nasdaq today, up 16.5% at $15.14. The gene-silencing expert just announced a licensing deal with Eli Lilly (LLY) that includes a $100 million investment at a price of $18.47 per DRNA share, and another $100 million payment upfront. DRNA is also eligible for hundreds of millions of dollars in milestone payments and royalties going forward.

DRNA stock had already been an outperformer this year, gaining almost 44%. The shares peaked at $17.98 on Sept. 14, and the subsequent pullback was contained by the equity's 200-day moving average. More big moves could be ahead in the coming days, too, with the company scheduled to report earnings after the close this Wednesday, Oct. 31.

As for sentiment surrounding the drugmaker, analysts were already extremely bullish, with six of eight in coverage handing out "strong buy" opinions. Meanwhile, the average 12-month price target stands up at $18.86, which represented a 45% premium to Friday's close of $13.

Not everyone's a believer in Dicerna, however. Short interest represents 8.6% of the total float, or almost nine times the average daily trading volume. This may work in DRNA's favor, though, as a round of short covering could result in additional tailwinds for the shares.

As for options activity, the healthcare name is thinly traded, but those who have targeted it have preferred calls. For example, the November 12.50 call is home to peak open interest, and more broadly speaking calls account for eight of the DRNA's 10 top open interest positions.

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