New insights emerge in the biotech sector as Galena Biopharma Inc (NASDAQ:GALE) presented an update on GALE-301 at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) 2016 Annual Meeting, while Mast Therapeutics Inc (NYSEMKT:MSTX) got no love from investors after announcing a delay in reporting of phase III trial (EPIC) results for vepoloxamer for the treatment of vaso-occlusive crisis in patients with sickle cell disease. Roth Capital analysts weigh in on the news. Let’s take a closer look.
Galena Biopharma Inc
Roth Capital analyst Joseph Pantginis reiterated a Buy rating on shares of Galena with a $5.00 price target, after the cancer drug maker provided an update at the ASCO on its GALE-301 vaccine program, which is currently being studied in a Phase I/II study for the prevention of recurrent ovarian or endometrial cancers.
Pantginis noted, “We see the positive correlations between vaccine dose or schedule and rate of recurrence as positive indicators of the vaccine’s potential. While management does not consider the vaccine a core asset at this time, the data could guide future development of the program, and we see optionality in the asset.”
“We note that while the data are still immature (mOS not reached), we believe the data here (vaccine dose and boost strategy) could be used to inform the design of future studies. However, as mentioned previously, the company is now entirely focused on the broad NeuVax program, led by the Phase III PRESENT study in adjuvant breast cancer. The interim analysis for the Phase III PRESENT study in adjuvant breast cancer is expected in 2Q16,” the analyst continued.
According to TipRanks.com, which measures analysts’ and bloggers’ success rate based on how their calls perform, analyst Joseph Pantginis has a yearly average return of 10% and a 39% success rate. Pantginis has a -12% average return when recommending GALE, and is ranked #170 out of 3990 analysts.
Mast Therapeutics Inc
Mast Therapeutics shares are down over 7% today after the small biotech company announced that it expects to report results from vepoloxamer’s pivotal Phase 3 trial (EPIC) in July, rather than in June as we expected.
However, Roth Capital analyst Michael Higgins remains bullish, reiterating a Buy rating on the stock, with a $2.00 price target, which implies an upside of 156.4% from current levels.
Higgins noted, “Investors may be frustrated to wait another month for the data, given that EPIC was to complete around YE’16 (enrolled Feb. 22). In our view, investors were frustrated that the company needed to raise additional equity in February to satisfy debt holders, which turned into a buying opportunity for equity holders. We believe the after-market sell-off is creating another buying opportunity”
“We are buyers on weakness. Given the global scope of this trial, the largest sickle cell trial ever conducted, we are not surprised (albeit disappointed) that we need to wait another month for data,” the analyst concluded.
According to TipRanks.com, analyst Michael Higgins has a yearly average return of -11.3% and a 31% success rate. Higgins has a -22% average return when recommending MSTX, and is ranked #3719 out of 3990 analysts.
All the 5 analysts polled by TipRanks rate Mast Therapeutics stock a Buy. With a return potential of 707.5%, the stock’s consensus target price stands at $3.00.