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Esperion Therapeutics Inc (ESPR), NanoString Technologies Inc (NSTG) & Gogo Inc (GOGO): Three IPOs That Could Be Tomorrow’s Superstars

Did you miss out on the recent hot IPOs for Noodles & Co (NASDAQ:NDLS), Fairway Group Holdings Corp (NASDAQ:FWM) and Stemline Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ:STML)?

Well, the hits keep on coming. Phillips 66 (NYSE:PSX), which was one of the looming initial public offerings that I profiled last week, surged a hefty 30% in its first day of trading.

If you missed out on these fast starters, fret not. Many other recent IPOs haven’t fared nearly as well from their initial IPO price as these big gainers. IPOs sometimes need to simmer for a bit as investors only belatedly get around to checking them out.

Here’s a quick look at what the hot money may have initially missed but far-sighted investors may soon start snapping up.

1. Esperion Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ:ESPR)

Thanks to the blockbuster success of Lipitor and other statins, the cholesterol-fighting market has always been seen as a great prize for drug companies. Billions in sales await any drug that can get through the FDA approval process and surpass the efficacy and/or safety of existing drugs. Trouble is, a handful of cholesterol drugs have petered out in clinical trials in the past few years as their backers realized that the drugs had little chance for FDA approval.

Esperion Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ:ESPR)’s prospects look a bit brighter. The company has undergone multiple Phase II trials for ETC-1002, which has thus far shown that the drug has lowered low-density lipid (LDL) levels to below those of existing statins. “The safety and tolerability profile seen to date is favorable and may enable differentiation from current standards of care,” noted analysts at JMP Securities, who carry a $25 price target on the stock. Esperion Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ:ESPR) priced its IPO at $14 a share in late June and shares are trading for around $17.

Citigroup Inc (NYSE:C) has an even higher $30 target price, figuring the drug may eventually serve a population of more than 10 million Americans and an $8 billion to $10 billion global opportunity. Before you get too excited, note that many drugs perform very well in Phase II trials but stumble in Phase III trials when testing populations sharply expand. Still, any new cholesterol drug that can stand up through Phase III trials will indeed get a huge deal of buzz. Such an event is likely more than a year away.

2. NanoString Technologies Inc (NASDAQ:NSTG)

Seattle-based NanoString Technologies Inc (NASDAQ:NSTG) proved to be a tough sell for itsinvestment bankers: An IPO that was expected to be priced in the $13 to $15 range ended up launching at $10 due to weak demand, and remains below $10 today.

Yet unlike some development-stage medical companies that go public without approved products on the market, NanoString Technologies Inc (NASDAQ:NSTG), which sells diagnostic equipment to detect cancer cells, already had $24 million sales in the prior 12 months. Analysts at Leerink Swan see that figure rising to $52 million by next year.

To be sure, these are expensive machines, requiring extensive sales efforts. Yet Leerink Swan believes that NanoString Technologies Inc (NASDAQ:NSTG), which sold 127 million units in 2012, will sell more than 350 million units by 2015. That kind of projected growth underpins its $15 price target, which is more than 60% above current levels.

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