Aurinia Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:AUPH) shares have been skyrocketing following the biotech firm’s major success with its Phase IIb trial evaluating voclosporin (VCS) in lupus nephritis (LN). At 48 weeks, the trial met both complete remission (CR) as well as partial remission (PR) endpoints, with efficacy 48 weeks in improved and “statistically stronger” than the drug’s 24-week results.
FBR analyst Vernon Bernardino sees massive potential for Aurinia to form a strategic pharmaceutical alliance considering the strength of these stellar results. As such, predicting this “robust data opens doors to a lucrative agreement,” the analyst reiterates an Outperform rating on shares of AUPH with a $9 price target, which represents a just under 410% increase from current levels.
“We believe Aurinia Pharmaceuticals should be able to attract a significant Big Pharma partner based on the better-than-expected top-line results from its AURALV Phase IIb study with voclosporin (VCS) in patients with lupus nephritis (LN). The results showed that at 48 weeks, the study met its complete remission (CR) and partial remission (PR) endpoints. We think the impressive results, which were highly statistically significant (p values ranging from less than 0.001 to 0.026 where p <0.05 is statistically significant) and demonstrated safe steroid sparing with VCS, opened the door for Aurinia to pursue multiple options. In particular, as autoimmune diseases such as LN are in the realm of therapeutic indications targeted by Big Pharma (i.e., market opportunities >$1B), we think it is now highly likely that Aurinia can attract a development partner for VCS and could position the company as an acquisition target,” Bernardino concludes, recognizing “multiple options for the path forward” for the firm.
According to TipRanks, which measures analysts’ and bloggers’ success rate based on how their calls perform, Vernon Bernardino is ranked #4,438 out of 4,513 analysts. Bernardino has a 27% success rate and loses 14.4% in his yearly returns. However, when recommending AUPH, Bernardino gains 48.8% in average profits on the stock.
TipRanks analytics demonstrate AUPH as a Buy. Out of 2 analysts polled by TipRanks in the last 3 months, both analysts are bullish on Aurinia stock. With a return potential of 66%, the stock’s consensus target price stands at $8.00.