Rigel shares rise on RBC analyst upgrade

AP News
Posted: Nov 23, 2009 12:53 PM

Rigel Pharmaceuticals Inc. rose after an RBC Capital Markets analyst recommended buying shares of the drug developer based on his expectations the company will announce news of a partnership for a key drug candidate.

Rigel's shares rose 40 cents, or 5.1 percent, to $8.18 in afternoon trading. The stock has traded between $4.19 and $14.75 over the last 52 weeks.

That drug candidate, R788 has show lackluster results though. In July, it showed mixed results in clinical trials aimed at rheumatoid arthritis. At the time analysts voiced concern over the results' potential to hurt partnership discussions, though they did not dismiss the drug's potential.

RBC analyst Jason Kantor upgraded Rigel's shares to "outperform" from "sector perform" and raised his price target to $11 from $9. He expects the company to sign a partnership deal on R788 in the next fourth months.

But, he said, if the company does not find a partner in early 2010, its shares will likely suffer. The shares will likely also suffer if any deal is considered weak.

The company is hoping to move R788 into late-stage clinical trials.