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The share price of Santarus, Inc. reached a new 52-week high, touching $24.07 on Jul 8, 2013. The closing price (as of Jul 8) of this San Diego, Calif - based specialty biopharmaceutical company reflects a massive year-to-date return of 108.1%. The average volume of shares traded over the last three months stood at approximately 989K. The company had a market capitalization of $1.53 billion on Jul 8.

Furthermore, Santarus has delivered a massive average positive earnings surprise of 200.2% over the last four quarters. The long-term expected earnings growth rate for this stock is 26%.

Growth Drivers

Earlier this year, Santarus received a major boost when the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Uceris for the induction of remission in patients suffering from mild-to-moderate ulcerative colitis. The product was launched in the US in Feb 2013, earlier than the company’s initial launch date of Mar 2013. Santarus’ shares were up significantly on the FDA approval of Uceris. We are positive on the Uceris launch - Uceris is off to a strong start and should continue performing well. Santarus reported Uceris sales of $6.6 million in the first quarter of 2013.

We are also positive on the company’s efforts to stem the decline in prescription trends for the branded Zegerid. Santarus resumed promotion of Zegerid in Feb 2013.

We note that Santarus has an impressive pipeline with phase III candidates such as Ruconest and rifamycin SV MMX.

Ruconest is currently under FDA review for the treatment of hereditary angioedema (HAE) patients suffering from acute angioedema attacks. Ruconest is already approved in Europe for the same indication. We note that it enjoys orphan drug status in the US for treating acute attacks of HAE as well as for the prophylactic treatment of HAE. Once approved, Ruconest could have 12 years of data exclusivity.

We expect investor focus to remain on the Uceris launch, the Zegerid re-launch and the outcome of the FDA advisory panel meeting for Ruconest.

Estimate Revisions

Over the last 60 days, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2013 has marginally gone up from $0.84 to $0.85 per share. Meanwhile, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2014 has risen from $1.21 to $1.32 per share.

Other Stocks to Consider

Santarus currently carries a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). At present, companies like Jazz Pharmaceuticals (JAZZ - Analyst Report), Cadence Pharmaceuticals Inc. and Valeant Pharmaceuticals (VRX - Analyst Report) also carry a comparable rank.

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