) to strong buy from buy.
Analyst Dennis Harp says the approval of Neulasta, the company's second generation Neupogen drug, is early. He had expected Neulasta to launch in the second half of 2002, so he raised his $1.34 2002 EPS estimate to $1.39, and boosted the $1.60 2003 estimate to $1.70. Harp also upped the $2.11 2004 estimate to to $2.20, and raised the $2.65 2005 estimate to $2.73, and lifted the $3.09 2006 estimate to $3.15. He now sees a U.S. launch of Neulasta by April 1, 2002, and Euroland approval in the second half of 2002. Harp thinks the company will price Neulasta at a modest
premium over a full course of Neupogen; as such, reimbursement should be rapid, as Neulasta will offer cost savings to health care providers and greater convenience to patients.