Maxim’s Biotech Insights: Anavex Life Sciences Corp. (AVXL), StemCells Inc (STEM)

Maxim’s healthcare analyst Jason Kolbert weighted in today on the clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company Anavex Life Sciences Corp. (NASDAQ:AVXL) and stem cell research company StemCells Inc (NASDAQ:STEM). The analyst reflects on Anavex’s regulatory nod and StemCells’ phase II clinical results.

Anavex Life Sciences Corp.

In trading Wednesday, Anavex Life shares shot up more than 70% after the company announced that it is moving forward with the development program for ANAVEX 2-73. But more importantly, the FDA guidance confirms the company’s strategy to advance its treatment in a larger double-blinded, randomized, placebo-controlled P 2/3 study.

Following the news, Kolbert had the chance to answer the company’s bears, “A note to the Bears: Yes, its true. Over-reading Alzheimer’s data in a phase 1 study is fraught with risk BUT no one is saying 2-73 will absolutely work. Not us (the analysts) nor is management. What we are saying is, So Far, So Good. Developing a drugs in Alzheimer’s is fraught with risk BUT so far the early signs are very encouraging. So while Bears can claim, Hype, Over -Promotion, we say look at the data, we believe advancing to a P2/3 study is warranted and justified based on the data thus far.”

The analyst rates Anavex Life Sciences shares a Buy, with a price target of $15, which implies an upside of 176% from current levels.

According to, which measures analysts’ and bloggers’ success rate based on how their calls perform, analyst Jason Kolbert has a total average return of -15.4% and a 28.1% success rate. Kolbert is ranked #3844 out of 3849 analysts.

StemCells Inc

Additionally, Kolbert reiterated a Buy rating on shares of StemCells, with a $5.00 price target, as the company will host a webcast to discuss the six-month interim results from the first cohort in its Phase II Pathway Study in cervical spinal cord injury today at 4:30 pm ET.

Kolbert observed, “HuCNS-SCs are differentiated from other stem cell therapies in that these cells have the ability to integrate into the damaged CNS tissues, multiply and migrate, suggesting that multi-dosing may not be necessary. Initial data from single dose phase I/II studies was positive. We should get a glimpse today of the six month follow-up data sets (first cohort) data from the larger phase II studies with additional cohorts to follow.”

“To our surprise news came last week that Astellas announced plans to acquire Cell Therapy Company Ocata for $379 Million. By every measure we use we see STEM as a superior company, more clinically advanced. As such we believe the Astellas acquisition sets a benchmark for valuation in the space,” the analyst added.

According to, Kolbert has a -43.7% average return when recommending STEM. All the 4 analysts polled by TipRanks rate StemCells stock a Buy. With a return potential of 434%, the stock’s consensus target price stands at $2.46.

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