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Last week, Leerink Partners healthcare analysts Geoffrey Porges, Seamus Fernandez, and Paul Matteis dropped by the STAT offices for a conversation with biotech reporters Damian Garde and Adam Feuerstein.

In this edited excerpt, the Leerink analysts discuss the evolving role of the sell-side analyst on Wall Street. Price targets and stock ratings — though widely ridiculed — still matter, they say. And they have answers to the critics who accuse sell-siders of being feckless sycophants willing to do or say anything to stay in the good graces of investment-banking clients.

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