In a research report released Friday, Chardan analyst Madhu Kumar reiterated a Sell rating on shares of Arbutus Biopharma Corp (NASDAQ:ABUS), after the company reported interim single and multi-dose results from the first two cohorts in the phase IIa trial of ARB-1467, a RNAi drug for the treatment of chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV).

Arbutus shares are currently trading at $3.60, down $0.29 or -7.46% in Friday’s session.

Kumar noted, “To us, the failure of ARB-1467 was entirely predictable based on preclinical data. As seen in our 16 May 2016 ABUS initiation note, we found the marginal efficacy of ARB-1467 to be entirely predictable based on the drug’s inferior preclinical efficacy compared to that of competitors such as ARC-520 from Arrowhead, ALN-HBV from Alnylam, and BB-HB-331 from Benitec. While market commentary has suggested that preclinical data does not necessarily translate to clinical findings, we believe the interim results indicate that the differential effects observed between these RNAi assets, even in somewhat different HBV models, were informative of the inferiority of ARB-1467.”

“Beyond our issues with the ARB-1467 interim phase IIa results, we reiterate our previous concerns that the remainder of Arbutus’ pipeline consists of previously failed and/or very early preclinical assets, most of which face significant competition,” the analyst concluded.

According to, which measures analysts’ and bloggers’ success rate based on how their calls perform, analyst Madhu Kumar has a yearly average return of -1.5% and a 61% success rate. Kumar has a 9.1% average return when recommending ABUS, and is ranked #3058 out of 4200 analysts.

Out of the 5 analysts polled by TipRanks, 3 rate Arbutus stock a Buy, 1 rates the stock a Hold and 1 recommends a Sell. With a return potential of 142%, the stock’s consensus target price stands at $8.75.