FBR Boosts Price Target For Aurinia Pharmaceuticals Inc (AUPH) As Balance Sheet Improves

FBR analyst Vernon Bernardino, one of Aurinia Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:AUPH) biggest bulls, is out today with a research note on AUPH, after the drug maker raised $173.1 million (before deducting underwriting discounts and commissions) through a previously-announced public offering.

The analyst raised his price target from $9.00 to $11.00, while reiterating an Outperform rating, as he thinks the company’s balance sheet is now more than adequate to complete a Phase III clinical trial with VCS.

Bernardino commented, “We increase our price target 22% from $9 to $11, as we think that with a balance sheet bolstered by a public offering that we estimate raised up to $161M in net proceeds, AUPH is now in a strong position to independently advance voclosporin (VCS), its investigational therapy for patients with active lupus nephritis (LN), into Phase III testing. As VCS is directed to an autoimmune disease that has been targeted by major pharmaceutical companies (Big Pharma) hungry for the next multi-billiondollar drug (FBR projects VCS could achieve >$2B in annual peak sales), we look for AUPH to receive an acquisition bid from a Big Pharma company in the next six to nine months, with an initial bid of $10 per share reasonable. We think AUPH is more likely to look to sign a partnership agreement; therefore, we look for a deal worth $500M to $700M in up-front and milestone payments to AUPH.”

According to TipRanks, which measures analysts’ and bloggers’ success rate based on how their calls perform, analyst Vernon Bernardino has a yearly average return of -8.2% and a 28% success rate. Bernardino has a 132.1% average return when recommending AUPH, and is ranked #4434 out of 4549 analysts.

As of this writing, all the 5 analysts polled in the past 12 months rate Aurinia stock a Buy. With a return potential of 13%, the stock’s consensus target price stands at $9.60.


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