Incyte's new CEO says his pipeline is underrated--and undervalued

Incyte CEO Hervé Hoppenot

Incyte ($INCY) doesn't get the respect it deserves, according to CEO Hervé Hoppenot, and, after about a month on the job, the biotech's new chief is hyping his company's pipeline as worthy of more attention and, more important, a higher stock price.

As Hoppenot told Bloomberg, Incyte is still fighting to make clear that it's more than just the developer of Jakafi, a myelofibrosis treatment that became the first-ever FDA-approved JAK1/JAK2 inhibitor in 2011. Some promising results for that drug in pancreatic cancer led to a 33% jump in its stock price back in August, and even though the company's shares have nearly tripled since then, Hoppenot believes Incyte remains undervalued.

"Around $20 [a share], the assumption was this pipeline was worthless and Jakafi was one small drug," he told the news service. "But there is more than that."

Beyond potential new indications for Jakafi, leading the pipeline is baricitinib, a Phase III JAK1/JAK2 inhibitor for rheumatoid arthritis and autoimmune diseases, co-developed with Eli Lilly ($LLY). INCB39110, a Phase II JAK1 blocker, has shown promise in myelofibrosis, and Incyte is developing the PI3K-targeting INCB40093 as a combo cancer therapy. The company also struck a deal with Merck ($MRK) to study that outfit's MK-3475 in tandem with its INCB24360 in lung cancer.

Now, at roughly $64 a share, Hoppenot said Incyte is still on the way up, and with late-stage data on Jakafi and baricitinib expected this year, his company could be set for another leap in value.

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