What’s the Word on These Two Biotech Players? Analysts Chime in on Endocyte, Inc. (ECYT) and Pieris Pharmaceuticals Inc (PIRS)

Cowen sees hope for ECYT amid acquisition refocus; H.C. Wainwright cheers PIRS' I-O program's prospects.


Wall Street Cheers Endocyte’s New Direction

Back in June, Endocyte, Inc. (NASDAQ:ECYT) said it would cut nearly half of its employees and scale back its drug programs as it refocuses. Obviously, investors were concerned about the company’s prospects, wondering: Is the end in sight for the cancer drug maker?

Today, Endocyte provided investors with a wonderful answer. The company acquired worldwide licensing rights to a late-stage prostate cancer drug called PSMA-617 from chemical company ABX GmbH. Endocyte plans to begin Phase 3 clinical trials on the drug next year, and hopes to get results as soon as 2020.

In reaction to the news, Endocyte shares skyrocketed nearly 160% to $3.65.

Cowen analyst Boris Peaker commented, “The transformative acquisition of PSMA-617 not only transforms the company’s focus but also adds a number of milestones. In our view the most near-term milestone is the regulatory feedback on Lutathera. An approval would significantly derisk other Lu-177 based radiotherapeutics. However, even if the FDA issues a CRL for Lutathera, as long as the issues are not related to the Lu-177 payload, this may still be a positive catalyst for Endocyte. Looking beyond Lutathera, Endocyte plans to commence a Phase 3 study of PSMA-617 in 1H18. Additionally, there is an ongoing study if PSMA-617 in Australia which is expanding enrollment from 30 to 50 patients. We anticipate data from this trial at ASCO 2018. Endocyte also noted that an additional investigator sponsored study may be commenced, although the details and timing of this is limited.”

Yet, Peaker remains sidelined on Endocyte shares until “further due diligence” is obtained. The analyst reiterates a Market Perform rating on the stock without suggesting a price target. (To watch Peaker’s track record, click here)

Wall Street is not convinced just yet on this biotech player, as TipRanks analytics demonstrate ECYT as a Hold. Based on 4 analysts polled by in the last 12 months, three rate a Hold rating on Endocyte stock while one maintains a Buy. With a return potential of 66%, the stock’s consensus target price stands at $4.67.ECYT analyst ratings

 

Pieris Pharmaceuticals: This Is the Beginning of a Beautiful…

H.C. Wainwright analyst Joseph Pantginis believes Pieris Pharmaceuticals Inc’s (NASDAQ:PIRS) Phase 1 of its advanced/metastatic HER-2 positive solid tumor candidate PRS-343 is going to draw a great deal of information for the firm, and is encouraged after this morning’s reveal that the first patients have been dosed in the trial.

The Phase I trial could be significant for the breast cancer community, as the firm’s lead internal immune-oncology (I-O) asset has been designed to follow when standard treatments are no longer available, effective, or tolerated- or simply refused by patients who have grown frustrated with the prognosis of this resistant disease.

Providing context as “PRS-343 goes clinical” just “as IO focus continues to increase,” the analyst highlights: “This Phase 1 is a multicenter, open-label, dose escalation study designed to have expansion cohorts based on encouraging activity. Potential targeted tumors include breast, gastroesophageal, bladder, and others, based on HER2 expression.”

Following this morning’s news, the analyst assume coverage with a Buy rating and a price target of $9, which represents a close to 46% increase from current trading levels. (To watch Pantginis’ track record, click here)

Notably, the IO drug market could bring $30 billion plus in yearly sales within the next five years. In January, Pieris captivated Servier’s attention with an immune-oncology deal, and even though PRS-343 is not an element in this alliance, the analyst notes, “We believe the level of work completed in building the profile of the asset was a contributing factor to attracting Servier. PRS-343 is being developed for the treatment of HER2+ cancers.”

Ultimately, this will serve as a key move forward for Pieris, as Pantginis contends, “The start of the ‘343 study represents an important milestone for the company, in our belief, as it represents the first IO driven product wholly owned by Pieris to enter the clinic. It is also part of the company’s goal to increase its overall focus on IO products. With multiple assets and partnerships already in hand across the pipeline, we believe that Pieris’ options could be numerous for ‘343 in the future, with regard to business development.”

The initial word out on the Street echoes Pantginis’ bullish conviction on the drug maker, as TipRanks analytics showcase PIRS as a Buy. Based on 2 analysts polled by TipRanks in the last 3 months, both are bullish on Pieris stock. The 12-month average price target stands at $9.00, marking a 45% upside from where the stock is currently trading.  PIRS chart