Sell-Side Analysts Weigh In on Two Small Cap Biotechs: Advaxis, Inc. (ADXS) and Keryx Biopharmaceuticals (KERX)

Healthcare analysts at sell-side firms FBR and Brean Capital were out today with some commentary on small-cap biotech companies Advaxis, Inc. (NASDAQ:ADXS) and Keryx Biopharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:KERX). Let’s take a closer look:

Advaxis, Inc.

Negative clinical trial results from Aduro BioTech (NASDAQ:ADRO) in pancreatic cancer sent Advaxis shares down 10% earlier today, as Advaxis is developing similar bacteria-based cancer immunotherapies.

However, FBR Capital analyst Vernon Bernardino calmed investors’ fears, noting, “While the initial read-through on the results would be to associate potential failure with ADXS’s immunotherapy, axalimogene filolisbac (AXAL), which like CRS-207 incorporates technology based on Listeria monocytogenes (Lm), we note critical differences that prompt us to recommend buying ADXS stock on any weakness.”

“First, ADXS has not conducted any studies with AXAL in pancreatic cancer, and thus, the potential of ADXS’ immunotherapies in this indication is wholly unknown. Importantly, the response to AXAL turns a quiescent tumor microenvironment into a site of inflammation, and mobilizes a robust immune response. Lastly, while ADRO’s CRS-207 has one copy of the tumor antigen gene it targets (a fusion protein of ActA and human mesothelin) ADXS’ Lm-LLO engineered AXAL has multiple copies of antigen, theoretically resulting in higher production of tumor antigen, and possibly resulting in an immune response that doesn’t require an immunostimulant or checkpoint inhibitor,” the analyst continued.

Bernardino reiterated an Outperform rating on shares of Advaxis with a price target of $34, which represents a potential upside of 383% from where the stock is currently trading.

Is it worth listening to this analyst? Check Bernardino’s performance and ranking Here.

As of this writing, all the 4 analysts polled by TipRanks rate Advaxis stock a Buy. With a return potential of 274%, the stock’s consensus target price stands at $26.33.

Keryx Biopharmaceuticals

FBR analyst Christopher James reiterated an Outperform rating on shares of Keryx Biopharma, with a $13 price target, after the company reported first-quarter results, with Auryxia net US sales of $5.6M and $1.2M royalties from Keryx’s Japenese partner, totaling a $6.8 million in the revenues for the first quarter compared to $5.7 million in the prior quarter.

James wrote, “Keryx has unrestricted formulary access covering 65% of the Part D market, and the company continues to work on contracting with the larger remaining insurance providers, although it has been several months since any new payers have come on board.” Furthermore, “Nephrologists are a conservative group, requiring multiple visits and a lot of hand holding to alter their thinking, and thus we believe the additional touches by the extra salespeople will likely help. 2016 should reflect the first full-year impact of a larger salesforce, which is hitting the same geography but more broadly than before, including nephrologists and several other dialysis care team members.”

“In 3Q15, Fexeric (ferric citrate) received EU approval, but more importantly, the EU regulators designated the drug as a New Active Substance, thereby granting it 10 years of marketing exclusivity in the EU. Keryx is currently in discussions with potential EU partners, and we believe the company could attract either one pan-European partner or several regional partners; but we note that the company is focused at present upon increasing US Auryxia sales and filing the Auryxia sNDA,” the analyst continued.

Is it worth listening to this analyst? Check James’ performance and ranking Here.

Out of the 11 analysts polled by TipRanks, 5 rate Keryx stock a Buy, 4 rate the stock a Hold and 2 recommend Sell. With a return potential of 51.1%, the stock’s consensus target price stands at $8.33.

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