FBR Capital analyst Vernon Bernardino was out pounding the table on Aurinia Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:AUPH), reiterating an Outperform rating and price target of $9.00, after the company announced positive 24-week data in 10 patients from the AURION study, an open-label exploratory study to assess the short-term predictors of response using voclosporin in combination with mycophenolate mofetil and oral corticosteroids in patients with active lupus nephritis (LN).

Aurinia Pharmaceuticals closed today at $5.10, up $1.05 or 26%.

Bernardino commented, “Although results are from small numbers, we think the data are compelling for concluding VCS has significant potential as a treatment for LN. Recall that in June 2016, 57% (4 of 7 patients who completed 24 weeks of VCS) achieved a complete remission (CR) as measured by a urinary protein creatinine ratio (UPCR) of ≤0.5mg/mg, eGFR within 20% of baseline and concomitant steroid use of <5mg/day. The updated results show 70% (7/10) of patients achieved CR. Importantly, of the 10 patients that achieved reduced UPCR ≥25% at eight weeks, 80% were responders (≥50% reduction in UPCR vs. baseline) and 70% were in CR at 24 weeks. Biomarkers of inflammation such as C4, C4 and antidsDNA al continued to normalize over 24 weeks, and thus, appear predictive of long-term response to VCS.”

As usual, we recommend taking analyst notes with a grain of salt. According to TipRanks.com, which measures analysts’ and bloggers’ success rate based on how their calls perform, analyst Vernon Bernardino has a yearly average return of -15.5% and a 26% success rate. Bernardino has a 19.1% average return when recommending AUPH, and is ranked #4077 out of 4190 analysts.

As of this writing, all the 4 analysts polled by TipRanks rate Aurinia stock a Buy. With a return potential of 86%, the stock’s consensus target price stands at $9.50.

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