Analysts Weigh In on Two Biotech Stocks: Keryx Biopharmaceuticals (KERX), Conatus Pharmaceuticals Inc (CNAT)

Analysts are weighing in on two biotechnology companies Keryx Pharmaceutical (NASDAQ:KERX) and Conatus Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:CNAT), with mixed ratings.

Keryx Pharmaceutical

BTIG analyst Hartaj Singh came out with a pessimistic view on Keryx Biopharmaceuticals after the company announced that its lead candidate Aurxyia (Fexeric in the EU) was approved with a broad label spanning CKD and dialysis patients in the EU.

Singh explained, “While this news may seem positive, other developments since our August 6 move to a Sell rating on Keryx lead us to reduce our near- and long-term numbers for Auryxia. Continuing weak scripts trends for Auryxia, continuing weak sales for competitor product Velphoro in the US and EU and a strengthening of competitor offerings in the US and EU prompt us to seriously question the long-term potential of Auryxia as a differentiated product. Lastly, with a $20-25m burn rate per quarter (runway to mid/3Q16), we believe that there are some harsh binary choices facing Keryx, which investors should avoid. We remain bearish.”

The analyst reiterated a Sell rating on Keryx shares, and reduced the price target to $2.50 (from $3.50), which represents a potential downside of 37% from where the stock is currently trading.

According to, which measures analysts’ and bloggers’ success rate based on how their calls perform, analyst Hartaj Singh has a total average return of 6.4% and a 30.8% success rate. Singh is ranked #1573 out of 3766 analysts.

Conatus Pharmaceuticals Inc

Roth Capital’s healthcare analyst Elemer Piros weighed in yesterday with a few insights on Conatus Pharmaceuticals, after the company announced positive data on the early impact of emricasan, a potent pan-caspase inhibitor, on portal hypertension in the liver of cirrhosis patients.

Piros noted, “We would point out that the study was small (n=12) and treatment duration was relatively short (28 days) to allow for definite positive or negative conclusions. We’ve seen an indicator of activity, which in combination with potential long term impact on inflammation and fibrosis could contribute to the effectiveness of emricasan in liver disease.”

“Mechanism based biomarker, cCK18 was also reduced by 28-day treatment in the overall population (n=22; p<0.03). We need to confirm results from both < and > 12 mmHg subpopulations. It would be interesting, in our opinion, to see if there was a correlation between the magnitude of biomarker and HVPG reductions at the individual patient level,” the analyst added.

Piros reiterated a Buy rating on Conatus Pharmaceuticals shares, with a price target of $15, which represents a potential upside of 157% from where the stock is currently trading.

According to, analyst Elemer Piros has a total average return of -17.9% and a 14.3% success rate. Piros is ranked #3632 out of 3766 analysts.

Out of the 6 analysts polled by TipRanks, 5 rate Conatus Pharmaceuticals stock a Buy, while 1 rates the stock a Hold. With a return potential of 114%, the stock’s consensus target price stands at $12.50.

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