While most investors get excited if they make 15% in a year on a stock, there's a company based in Florida with shares nearly quadrupling that amount in the past three months. Opko Health Inc. (NYSE:OPK) shares have surged nearly 58% since the end of October. Can this stock continue its upward path? Here are three things to watch that could make the difference.
1. Gobbling by the OPKO-topus I'm not sure exactly how much the typical octopus eats, but the "OPKO-topus" gobbles up quite a bit. In October 2011, OPKO bought Claros Diagnostics for $10 million in cash and $22.5 million in OPKO stock. A couple of months later, the company purchased an Israeli pharmaceutical company, FineTech, for $27.7 million.
OPKO added more acquisitions during 2012. In April, it bought ALS, a privately held Chile-based pharmaceutical company, for $4 million. Farmadiet -- a Spanish firm that sells pharmaceutical, nutraceutical, and veterinary products -- was acquired in August for around $16 million.
Two fourth-quarter transactions occurred to help with OPKO's commercial launch of its new 4Kscore prostate test. A deal to buy Prost-Data (also known as OURLab) was announced in October and finalized in December. That purchase enabled OPKO to gain 18 phlebotomy sites in the U.S. and a national sales force that calls on urologists. The company also announced the acquisition of Silcon Comercio, a Brazilian pharmaceutical firm, in December.
Further gobbling has already begun in 2013 as well. OPKO announced in early January that it was buying Cytochroma, a Canadian pharma with two lead products in phase 3 studies. The company also recently announced that it was issuing $175 million of convertible senior notes, which will add to its cash stockpile. More cash probably means more acquisitions for OPKO.
The right kinds of purchases should be able to help the company market its products more effectively. However, if the assimilation of its increasingly larger empire doesn't go well, OPKO shares could suffer.
2. Results, results, results Three different results loom large for OPKO. One stems from phase 3 clinical trials of NK-1 receptor antagonist rolapitant for the prevention of chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting, or CINV. OPKO expects results in the second half of this year.
The company sees a potential U.S. opportunity for rolapitant of more than $1 billion if all goes well. Merck & Co., Inc.(NYSE:MRK)'s Emend is currently the only NK-1 receptor antagonist on the market. Emend brought in $358 million in sales during the first nine months of 2012, which is on track to outpace the $419 million in full-year sales from 2011.