Yesterday, Aurinia Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:AUPH) presented data at the European Lupus Meeting, which indicates 70% of patients achieved complete remission (CR) at 24 weeks, an increase from the 57% reported back in July. Meanwhile, of the 10 patients treated with voclosporin, a potential new therapy option for people with active lupus nephritis (lupus-related kidney disease), 80% revealed partial remission (PR).
Leerink top analyst Joseph Schwartz sees that this data bolsters his confidence on the biotech firm and further acts to “filter out bearish concern surrounding voclosporin.” Therefore, the analyst reiterates an Outperform rating on shares of AUPH with a $7 price target, which represents just under a 59% increase from where the stock is currently trading.
The analyst opines, “We believe this data further supports the efficacy behind voclosporin in lupus nephritis (LN) and should help remove the cautious sentiment surrounding the stock since the Ph.2b AURA-LV data announcement.”
Moreover, Schwartz notes that no unexpected safety signals were found in the data readout, which he finds not the least bit surprising, considering the “unfortunate” deaths in AURA-LV, from the analyst’s perspective, is “more reflective of the enrollee’s severe disease state at baseline and the expected disease course of LN.”
Ultimately, “We believe investors will begin to see beyond the panic selling behind pt. deaths and gain comfort in the drug’s efficacy,” Schwartz concludes.
Looking forward, the analyst believes yesterday’s data coupled with the positive Phase 2b AURA-LV data all indicate positive steps forward for the biotech firm’s pipeline drug.
As usual, we like to include the analyst’s track record when reporting on new analyst notes. According to TipRanks, top five-star analyst Joseph Schwartz has achieved a high ranking of #36 out of 4,190 analysts. Schwartz upholds a 60% success rate and realizes 23.1% in his annual returns. When recommending AUPH, Schwartz yields 10.0% in average profits on the stock.
TipRanks analytics exhibit AUPH as a Strong Buy. Based on 4 analysts polled in the last 3 months, 100% rate a Buy on AUPH. The 12-month price target stands at $9.50, marking a nearly 115% upside from where the shares last closed.