Bigger pharma may be scraping for good deals, but Horizon has plenty of options, analysts say

Horizon Pharma ($HZNP) isn't exactly the only specialty pharma company hunting for deals. Allergan ($AGN), Mallinckrodt ($MNK), Endo ($ENDP) and the ever-acquisitive Valeant ($VRX) have all been on shopping sprees lately, leaving some analysts wondering just what's left worth buying in the space. But Horizon is much smaller than its specialty peers--meaning it's got plenty of opportunities, UBS analysts figure.

In a research report seen by Investor's Business Daily, UBS' Marc Goodman and Ami Fadia pointed out that Horizon--with a market cap just over $5 billion--is at least $9 billion smaller than other on-the-prowl specialty pharmas, meaning it's "playing in a different sandbox."

Because of its track record and balance sheet, Horizon "has hit the radar of more potential sellers of assets," leading the analysts to up both their price target on the company's stock and their revenue estimates.

Horizon CEO Timothy Walbert

That's music to the ears of CEO Timothy Walbert, who has said he's building up Horizon's leadership and infrastructure "to support a larger organization," the UBS analysts wrote. Recently, that's involved foraying into the orphan-drug business with a pickup of osteoporosis treatment Actimmune--and following that up with May's $1.1 billion acquisition of orphan drugmaker Hyperion.

And while it may have once looked like Horizon would need new offerings to fill in for Vimovo and Duexis--a pair of flagship products Express Scripts ($ESRX) and CVS ($CVS) booted off their preferred formulary lists last year--sales of those drugs have held up, IBD notes, meaning pickups can only boost things further. The analysts credit that to the company's "prescriptions made easy" sales method, one they say is "really the key differentiating piece for Horizon."

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Special Reports: Pharma's top 10 M&A deals of 2014 | Top 20 orphan drugs by 2018

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