Wall Street analysts are upbeat about newly public PRA Health Sciences.
Five analysts weighed in on the Raleigh company’s prospects Monday – and all five rated PRA’s stock as a “buy” or its equivalent. Monday’s reports about the company were the first to be issued by analysts since PRA went public last month.
PRA “did not score a No. 1 hit with its IPO, but we think the stock can climb the charts in 2015,” wrote Robert W. Baird & Co. analyst Eric Coldwell.
PRA went public at $18 per share, below its target price of between $20 and $23. Early Monday afternoon its shares were trading at $21.90, down 16 cents.
Coldwell’s 12-month price target for PRA’s stock is $28.
PRA is a contract research organization, or CRO, that helps pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies test experimental drugs and analyze the results.
“As a pure-play clinical CRO, PRA benefits from the secular growth trends driving clinical research providers,” noted Wells Fargo analyst Tim Evans, who added that “the company has more margin expansion opportunity than certain peers.”
Jefferies analyst David Windley noted that PRA’s CEO, Colin Shannon, and its chief financial officer, Linda Baddour, proved themselves when they were at Wilmington-based PPD.
“During their long tenure at PPD – Mr. Shannon as head of global clinical ops and Ms. Baddour as CFO – the firm earned a reputation for top-notch work, and industry-leading margins. This culture has now proliferated throughout PRA, elevating its profile as one of the premier global CROs,” Windley wrote.