Anavex Life Sciences Corp. (NASDAQ:AVXL) announced that its oral pipeline drug candidate 2-73, developed to potentially modify Alzheimer’s disease rather than just temporarily address its symptoms, will be tested by Biogen Inc (NASDAQ:BIIB) in preclinical models of central nervous system (CNC) cell differentiation (oligodendrocyte precursor cells, or OPC).

If these results translate favorably, the next step would be to transition to studies investigating these effects on remyelination. This is significant, as multiple sclerosis and other CNS diseases are driven by a demyelination of nerves.

As Biogen takes a closer glimpse into evaluating 2-73, Maxim analyst Jason Kolbert remains bullish on the biotech firm, reiterating a Buy rating and price target of $15 price target, which represents a nearly 318% upside from where the stock is currently trading.

Kolbert notes, “Biogen is a key big pharma player in the MS space with blockbuster drugs like Tysabri” and with MS drug development “heating up” recently, it makes sense that Biogen sees it valuable to try to enter into the mix. Particularly of note, BIIB’s prospective pipeline MS-treating drug opicinumab recently failed a Phase III trial.

Therefore, the analyst believes, “Biogen, in our view, may be trying to keep up, and could see some potential (very early stage) for 2-73, which is a positive for Anavex.”

“2-73 has already demonstrated early positive data in AD, and Anavex has demonstrated potential utility in multiple other preclinical models of CNS diseases, including MS. Thus, we see Biogen coming on board, even for early stage studies, as further validating. In addition, what we’ve been learning from CNS-based studies, whether AD or MS, is that the data are complex across multiple endpoints. As such, having the KEM system with Ariana in place to help analyze complex data is, in our view, a strategic positive for Anavex,” Kolbert concludes.

As usual, we recommend taking analyst notes with a grain of salt. According to TipRanks, analyst Jason Kolbert is ranked #4,083 out of 4,190 analysts. Kolbert has a 28% success rate and faces a loss of 15.9% in his annual returns. When recommending AVXL, Kolbert loses 29.7% in average profits on the stock.

TipRanks analytics indicate AVXL as a Buy. Based on 2 analysts polled in the last 3 months, 100% rate a Buy on AVXL. The 12-month price target stands at $12.50, marking a 248% upside from where the shares last closed.screen-shot-10-07-16-at-04-21-pm