Esperion Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ:ESPR) traded up 13.2% on Friday . The stock traded as high as $42.66 and last traded at $41.88. 1,928,077 shares traded hands during trading, an increase of 128% from the average session volume of 844,680 shares. The stock had previously closed at $36.99.

Several equities research analysts recently weighed in on the company. BidaskClub cut Esperion Therapeutics from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Thursday, July 12th. Zacks Investment Research upgraded Esperion Therapeutics from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $48.00 target price for the company in a report on Tuesday, July 31st. Cowen set a $82.00 target price on Esperion Therapeutics and gave the company a “buy” rating in a report on Friday. Chardan Capital upgraded Esperion Therapeutics to a “hold” rating and set a $32.50 target price for the company in a report on Friday, July 20th. Finally, ValuEngine upgraded Esperion Therapeutics from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a report on Wednesday, July 4th. Two investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, three have assigned a hold rating, ten have assigned a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the stock. The company currently has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus price target of $79.96.

Esperion Therapeutics (NASDAQ:ESPR) last released its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, August 2nd. The biopharmaceutical company reported ($1.71) earnings per share for the quarter, missing the consensus estimate of ($1.70) by ($0.01). During the same period last year, the firm posted ($1.92) earnings per share. Analysts forecast that Esperion Therapeutics Inc will post -6.31 EPS for the current fiscal year.

In other news, major shareholder Target N. V. Biotech bought 50,000 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Friday, August 3rd. The stock was bought at an average price of $46.14 per share, for a total transaction of $2,307,000.00. Following the purchase, the insider now directly owns 3,282,964 shares in the company, valued at approximately $151,475,958.96. The purchase was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. Also, Director Roger S. Newton sold 17,700 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, August 27th. The shares were sold at an average price of $51.05, for a total value of $903,585.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the director now owns 615,726 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $31,432,812.30. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last quarter, insiders sold 34,500 shares of company stock valued at $1,744,117. Company insiders own 32.50% of the company’s stock.

Institutional investors and hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. BlackRock Inc. lifted its stake in shares of Esperion Therapeutics by 21.3% in the 2nd quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 1,805,232 shares of the biopharmaceutical company’s stock valued at $70,746,000 after purchasing an additional 316,635 shares during the period. MetLife Investment Advisors LLC lifted its stake in shares of Esperion Therapeutics by 44.6% in the 2nd quarter. MetLife Investment Advisors LLC now owns 10,901 shares of the biopharmaceutical company’s stock valued at $427,000 after purchasing an additional 3,363 shares during the period. Bank of Nova Scotia purchased a new position in shares of Esperion Therapeutics in the 2nd quarter valued at approximately $13,325,000. Partner Fund Management L.P. lifted its stake in shares of Esperion Therapeutics by 117.7% in the 2nd quarter. Partner Fund Management L.P. now owns 2,460,157 shares of the biopharmaceutical company’s stock valued at $96,414,000 after purchasing an additional 1,330,159 shares during the period. Finally, Voya Investment Management LLC lifted its stake in shares of Esperion Therapeutics by 26.3% in the 2nd quarter. Voya Investment Management LLC now owns 400,813 shares of the biopharmaceutical company’s stock valued at $15,709,000 after purchasing an additional 83,551 shares during the period.

About Esperion Therapeutics (NASDAQ:ESPR)

Esperion Therapeutics, Inc, a lipid management company, focuses on developing and commercializing oral therapies for the treatment of patients with elevated low density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C). Its lead product candidate is bempedoic acid/ezetimibe combination pill, a non-statin, orally available, LDL-C lowering therapy for patients with hypercholesterolemia and with atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease, and/or heterozygous familial hypercholesterolemia that is in Phase III long-term safety and tolerability study.

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