) to market perform from buy.
Analyst Barbara Ryan says Vanlev did not show superiority, but rather equivalence to Merck's enalapril in reduction of mortality and hospitalizations due to worsening heart failure. She says this data, coupled with angioedema issues already associated with Vanlev in hypertension, as well as the fact that enalapril is already generic, deems this drug not commercially viable.
As a result, she downgraded her rating to market perform. Ryan says there are no near-term catalysts, and the only upside is a potential takeout. She views Novartis as most likely, at around $50 per share. She prefers Pharmacia, Schering-Plough and Wyeth.