Piper Jaffray Weighs In on Two Collapsing Biotechs: CTI BioPharma Corp (CTIC), BioCryst Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (BCRX)

Piper Jaffray’s healthcare analyst Charles Duncan is weighing in today on biotech companies CTI BioPharma Corp (NASDAQ:CTIC) and BioCryst Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:BCRX), as shares of both companies fell sharply today due to various challenges and clinical trial setbacks.

CTI BioPharma

CTI shares are collapsing, down around 60% at time of writing, after the company disclosed that the FDA has placed a partial clinical hold on the clinical studies being conducted under the Company’s Investigational New Drug application for pacritinib.

In reaction, Charles Duncan slashed his price target from $8.00 to $4.00, while reiterating an Overweight rating on the stock.

Duncan commented, “We believe that the observation occurred in the non-randomized crossover period, which may select for more disease progressive patients, and that there was not a clear pattern of AEs likely to be associated with MOA. However, for now the hold introduces increased regulatory risk, primarily in timing, and we are reducing our target from $8 to $4. The NDA for pac’ in low platelets has been submitted and by March 5 we expect a decision on acceptance and standard versus priority review, as well as perhaps an update on this safety concern. In advance of further visibility into safety, we believe pac’ is an approvable and valuable new drug option in the low platelet myelofibrosis population and maintain OW.”

According to TipRanks.com, which measures analysts’ and bloggers’ success rate based on how their calls perform, analyst Charles Duncan has a yearly average return of -8.8% and a 26.1% success rate. Duncan has a -19.2% average return when recommending CTIC, and is ranked #3362 out of 3584 analysts.

Out of the 3 analysts polled by TipRanks, 2 rate CTI BioPharma stock a Buy, while 1 rates the stock a Hold. With a return potential of 863%, the stock’s consensus target price stands at $4.70.

BioCryst Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

BioCryst shares lost two-thirds of their value today after the company reported disappointing mid-stage study results for its drug to treat patients with hereditary angioedema, a rare genetic condition.

Adding insult to injury, Duncan downgraded BioCryst shares from Overweight to Neutral, while slashing the price target to $5.00 (from $15.00), which represents a potential upside of 150% from where the stock is currently trading.

Duncan observed, “While we believe kallikrein inhibition remains a viable target to prevent HAE attacks, insufficient drug availability and patient variability seen in OPuS-2 suggests the company has not yet identified an oral formulation that enables therapeutic, consistent levels of kallikrein inhibition. Ultimately, although these results are not entirely unexpected given that management has pointed to a second dosage form of avoralstat, or even 2nd-gen compound ‘7353, as most likely to move forward, we now have limited visibility on the development plan for an oral kallikrein inhibitor in the next 6-12 months; therefore, we are stepping to the sidelines.”

Out of the 5 analysts polled by TipRanks in the last 3 months, 2 rate BioCryst stock a Buy, 2 rate the stock a Hold and 1 recommends a Sell. With a return potential of 690%, the stock’s consensus target price stands at $15.80.

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