H.C. Wainwright Pounds the Table on Pieris Pharmaceuticals Inc (PIRS)


Yesterday evening, Pieris Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:PIRS) released its fourth quarter and 2017 financial results, but more importantly,  H.C. Wainwright analyst Joseph Pantginis is confident on the company’s immune-oncology pipeline strides and respiratory program potential.

The analyst reiterates a Buy rating on PIRS stock with a $12 price target, which implies a close to 68% upside from current levels. (To watch Pantginis’ track record, click here)

“Immuno-oncology pipeline moving forward and growing,” asserts Pantginis, pointing out that the company’s PRS-343 asset is present-day involved in a Phase 1 trial in advanced or metastatic HER2-positive solid tumors.  Data on initial safety to tolerability to pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic results are due in the back half of this year, with the idea for the PIRS team to expand these trials to add a combination trial of PRS-343 along with a checkpoint inhibitor involved in PD-1 blockade.

Moreover, Pantginis is “breathing easy with Pieris’ respiratory programs,” with inhaled IL-4 receptor alpha-chain (IL4Rα) antagonist PRS-060 currently under development to treat asthma- under the worldwide strategic deal the biotech player has with AstraZeneca. Meanwhile, a following multi-ascending dose (MAD) study is likely to kickstart by the middle of the year.

“Importantly, following Phase 2a, Pieris has options to co-develop and co-commercialize PRS-060 in the U.S., which could increase the royalty potential for the asset to the high teens or a gross margin share off of all global sales depending on the level of co-development by Pieris. Recall that Pieris and AstraZeneca entered into an agreement to develop up to five drug candidates in the respiratory disease space, including PRS-060, which resulted in an upfront payment of $45 million to Pieris. The company is also developing a proprietary respiratory strategy in consultation with its KOL advisory board in order to identify disease areas and targets,” continues the analyst.

Looking ahead a Phase 2a data readout is likely to be ready by the close of the year. “A successful Phase 2 study could trigger the option for ASKA to develop it in Japan and certain other Asian territories and the company would seek to find partners to develop it outside of those territories,” concludes Pantginis, who notes that the company could gain access to an over $80 million in option exercise fee and milestone payments should this option be taken.

TipRanks signals early initial bullish word on the biotech firm, with 2 analysts polled in the last 3 months coming in bullish on PIRS shares. With an encouraging return potential of 60%, the stock’s consensus target price lands at $11.50.

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