Mast Therapeutics Inc (NYSEMKT:MSTX) is in a strong position on the back of two successful Phase II studies for its pipeline drug AIR001, an inhaled nebulized sodium nitrite designed to treat heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (hFpEF). Roth Capital analyst Michael Higgins remains bullish in light of the continued success of AIR001 and consequently reiterates a Buy rating on MSTX shares, with a $2.00 price target.

Higgins notes that back in February in its first phase II study, “AIR001 reached the primary endpoint of a reduction in pulmonary capillary wedge pressure (PCWP) at 20- Watts exercise versus baseline, versus placebo-treated patients.” The second Phase II trial results were presented May 16th at the American Thoracic Society meeting, showing that, “AIR001 significantly lowered central pressures, including right atrial, right ventricular systolic and diastolic, pulmonary artery (PA) systolic/diastolic/mean, and pulmonary artery occlusion (PAOP) pressures. There were no significant decreases is systemic blood pressures or change in heart rate.”

Following Phase II success for its first quarter, Mast is now commencing enrollment for a patient study known as Inorganic Nitrite Delivery to Improve Exercise Capacity-Heart Failure with Preserved Ejection Fraction (INDIE-HFpEF). For the upcoming INDIE-HFpEF trial, Duke Clinical Research Institute will act as the Coordinating Center to see whether the drug can reach a primary endpoint of maximal oxygen consumption in four weeks of treatment.

For now, Mast has not yet indicated guidance for when results for the trial will be reported, but Higgins refers to, which shows the study will be completed by third quarter of 2017. AIR001 could be instrumental as a new treatment to treat acute and chronic heart failure, which Higgins consciously takes into account for his outperform rating for MSTX.

According to TipRanks, which ranks over 7,500 financial analysts and bloggers to gauge the performance of their past recommendations, Michael Higgins is ranked #3,870 out of 4,083 analysts. To date, Higgins has reached a success rate of 33%, and on average, loses 12.2% in profits for his annual returns.

TipRanks analytics exhibit MSTX as a Strong Buy. All 3 analysts polled in the last 3 months rate a Buy for Mast Therapeutics shares. The 12-month average price target stands at $3.33, marking a significant 825% upside from where the stock is currently trading.

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