Aurinia Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:AUPH) is on fire today with shares zooming up 66% in pre-market trading after the biotech firm’s drug voclosporin scored a home run in its Lupus Nephritis trial. Not only did both complete and partial response rates achieve statistical significance compared to the control at week 48 into the study, a big win for the firm as is, but the rates also rose compared to week 24, with some patients converting from partial response to complete remission.
For Canaccord analyst John Newman, these results are clearly “a significant positive” that have him cheering the tolerability of the drug as one that will just keep getting better as time passes. Therefore, staunchly bullish on the biotech firm’s future, the analyst reiterates a Buy rating on AUPH with a price target of $10, which represents a 62% increase from current levels.
The analyst notes, “No patient deaths occurred in the study between week 24 and 48, which we view as very encouraging. Notably, three deaths and one malignancy occurred in the control arm after the 48-week time point, but none in the voclosporin treatment arms. We continue to believe that trial geography and prior medical care resulted in the prior deaths seen for voclosporin in the Phase 2b AURA-LV study, not the drug itself.”
“We are maintaining our BUY rating and $10 PT based on our view that voclosporin has clearly demonstrated efficacy in Lupus Nephritis (LN), and that more deaths seen on the voclosporin arms in Phase 2b were due to poor medical care in certain geographies prior to the study, not voclosporin itself. We expect positive results in Phase 3 to create significant shareholder value long-term,” Newman concludes, looking to the second quarter, where he anticipates AUPH will initiate its global Phase 3 trial for the drug in Lupus Nephritis.
According to TipRanks, which measures analysts’ and bloggers’ success rate based on how their calls perform, John Newman is ranked #4,408 out of 4,512 analysts. Newman has a 38% success rate and loses 7.3% in his yearly returns. However, when recommending AUPH, Newman earns 12.8% in average profits on the stock.
TipRanks analytics demonstrate AUPH as a Buy. Based on 2 analysts polled by TipRanks in the last 3 months, both rate a Buy on Aurinia stock. The 12-month average price target stands at $8.50, marking a 129% upside from where the stock is currently trading.