Healthcare analysts commented on positive study data from biopharma companies Galena Biopharma Inc (NASDAQ:GALE) and Sarepta Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ:SRPT). Both analysts believe the data represents a catalyst for each company and look for further updates at future events.
Galena Biopharma Inc
Analyst Vernon Bernardino of FBR & Co. weighed in on Galena following positive data from its phase 1/22a study with Gale-391/302 in women with endometrial or ovarian cancer, presented at the American Associate for Cancer Research annual meeting. The study evaluates immune responses and disease free survival rates in those treated with GALE-30 and Gale-302. While Bernardino notes a small sample of 51 patients in the study, he was “further encouraged from seeing significantly better DFS in patients who received 301/301 booster inoculations versus placebo inoculation (p=.02),” especially “on the heels of promising data presented at last year’s SITC.” The study also indicated that after 16 months, “the DFS projected two-years after booster treatment was 67% versus 36% with placebo.”
The analyst reiterates an Outperform rating on the stock with a $1.50 price target. He states, “We look for the primary analysis of results, which will be presented … in June, to be a positive catalyst for the stock and remain buyers especially at current attractive levels.”
According to TipRanks, all 4 analysts who have rated the company in the past 3 months gave a Buy rating. The average 12-month price target for the stock is $4.50, marking a 228% upside from where shares last closed.
Sarepta Therapeutics Inc
Oppenheimer analyst Christopher Marai commented on Sarepta after the company presented four-year data of eteplirsen, the company’s experimental muscular dystrophy drug, at the 68th annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) in Vancouver, Canada.
The analyst highlighted important ambulation data, the ability to walk independently without assistance. The study indicated that “all ten patients remain ambulatory after four years (10/12) vs. only one patient (n=13) in the external cohort.” Marai believes this is a key data point for eteplirsen. He states, “We believe this data point bodes well for Sarepta, as loss of ambulation is a hard endpoint—less affected by effort and placebo effect.” Specifically, patients demonstrated only a 16.7% loss of ambulation vs the 89.7% for the control.
Marai also points to patient performance on the 6 minute walk test related to the study, which measures how far the patient can walk in 6 minutes on a hard, flat surface. The study indicated that after four years, those treated with eteplirsen “demonstrated a mean change… of 162 m.” The analyst also notes that “the difference in mean 6MWT distance between the two groups increased each year since year 1, suggesting a slowing of disease progression over time.”
According to the study, 82% of patients treated with eteplirsen showed the presences of dystrophin by the end of the four year period, data which Marai notes is “not likely a coincidence.” Moreover, the entire eteplirsen clinical program did not report any deaths or life-threatening events, showing a tolerable safety profile in 114 patients between 4-19 years old. Only 2 patients in the program experienced serious adverse effects.
During an April 25 panel, the analyst expects the discussion “to include feasibility of designing/running long, large controlled trials” Marai notes that a rejection could delay the drug’s approval by 3 years “in a relentlessly and rapidly progressing disease.”
The analyst reiterates an Outperform rating on the stock with a $60 price target.
According to TipRanks, Christopher Marai has a 52% success rate recommending stocks with an average return of 11.4% per recommendation.
Out of all the analysts who have rated the company in the past 3 months, 43% gave a Buy rating, 14% gave a Sell rating, and 43% remain on the sidelines. The average 12-month price target for the stock is $35.20, marking a 79% upside from where shares last closed.