Biotech Beat: Analysts Weigh In on Galena Biopharma Inc (GALE), ACADIA Pharmaceuticals Inc. (ACAD) and Inovio Pharmaceuticals Inc (INO)

Healthcare analysts weighed in today on cancer therapeutics firm Galena Biopharma Inc (NASDAQ:GALE), biopharmaceutical company ACADIA Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ:ACAD), and immunotherapy company Inovio Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:INO). The analysts reflect on Galena’s   study results in gastric cancer, ACADIA’s valuation and upcoming catalysts, and Inovio’s pipeline update.

Galena Biopharma Inc

Galena Biopharma shares are up nearly 6% after the company announced data from an observational study, which demonstrated that ~25% of the patient population suffering from gastric (stomach) cancer in India are likely eligible for a Phase II trial planned by partner Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories with GALE’s cancer immunotherapy NeuVax.

FBR analyst Vernon Bernardino commented: “The results as presented today (a ~25% incidence of adequate HER2 expression) appear to be useful for estimating the screen failure rate in a clinical trial, and thus, provide insight into the size and rate of enrollment, as well as a projected timeline for completion of Dr. Reddy’s Phase II study. This market opportunity would be upside to our models. Thus, we view the data as positive and would be buyers of the stock, especially given this news, as over 35,000 new cases of gastric cancer occur in India every year, pointing to a market opportunity that could be meaningful to GALE’s valuation.”

Bernardino rates Galena shares an Outperform with a $5.00 price target, which implies an upside of 502% from current levels. However, according to, which measures analysts’ and bloggers’ success rate based on how their calls perform, the analyst has a yearly average return of -36.6% and a 13.8% success rate. Bernardino has a -45.5% average return when recommending GALE, and is ranked #3577 out of 3586 analysts.

Out of the 7 analysts polled by TipRanks, 6 rate Galena Biopharma stock a Buy, while 1 rates the stock a Hold. With a return potential of 402%, the stock’s consensus target price stands at $4.17.

ACADIA Pharmaceuticals Inc.

Piper Jaffray analyst Charles Duncan upgraded shares of ACADIA Pharmaceuticals from a Neutral to an Overweight rating, with a price target of $39, citing favorable valuation after the recent sell-off. ACADIA shares reacted to the upgrade, rising 8% to $24.52 on Friday.

Duncan wrote, “ACAD is down 36% year-to-date, trading at a market cap of just $2.5M, and at these levels we believe the potential approval (including label) and early adoption do not need to be “pristine.” Additionally, our recent diligence suggests that NUPLAZID remains one of the few wholly-owned Neuro-Innovator drug candidates that can affect a paradigm shift in treatment with transformative, near-term regulatory news. In advance of the 5/1 PDUFA, we continue to believe this is an approvable drug, with any approvability risks (Ad Comm, labeling nuances) priced in at the current valuation and based on our recent diligence, not meaningful barriers to commercial uptake with prescribers or payers. We have updated our NUPLAZID models and discount rate, and maintain our $39 PT despite recent dilution. Upside exists in possible strategic interest and a “cleaner” label.”

According to, analyst Charles Duncan has a yearly average return of -4.6% and a 36% success rate. Duncan has a 37.1% average return when recommending ACAD, and is ranked #3063 out of 3586 analysts.

Out of the 9 analysts polled by TipRanks, 8 rate Acadia stock a Buy, while 1 rates the stock a Hold. With a return potential of 104%, the stock’s consensus target price stands at $50.44.

Inovio Pharmaceuticals Inc

Maxim analyst Jason McCarthy reiterated a Buy rating on shares of Inovio Pharmaceuticals, with a price target of $14, following the news that Inovio and partner GeneOne Life Science will collaborate to develop a DNA-based vaccine targeting Zika Virus.

McCarthy said, “Inovio has a deep pipeline of DNA-vaccines targeting multiple indications in both oncology and infectious diseases. As we await the initiation of the phase III program for lead product VGX-3100 (HPV-related cervical dysplasia) and more data from the INO-3112 (HPV-related cancer) with partner Medimmune, Inovio continues to deliver positive news flow from pipeline programs.”

Analyst Jason McCarthy has a yearly average return of -25.6% and a 15.1% success rate. McCarthy has a -20.9% average return when recommending INO, and is ranked #3536 out of 3586 analysts, according to TipRanks.

As of this writing, all the 5 analysts polled by TipRanks rate Inovio stock a Buy. With a return potential of 233%, the stock’s consensus target price stands at $17.50.


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