Aurinia Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:AUPH) shares are currently rising almost 8% after the biotech firm released the rare, good news that its drug in its worldwide Phase 2b trial for Lupus Nephritis (LN) has revealed even better improvement at 48 weeks. For a drug that had already reached significant complete remission statistics at 24 weeks, this “landmark data” achievement has H.C. Wainwright analyst Ed Arce singing the firm’s praises twice-over.
With a rising conviction that on back of MMF and “tapered steroids,” voclosporin “will quickly emerge as the new SOC treatment for LN,” the analyst reiterates a Buy rating on shares of AUPH while raising the price target from $8 to $12, which represents a just under 147% increase from current levels.
In response to the bears who predicted the drug would see efficacy fade in the long-term, Arce counters, “Actually, Wednesday’s data proved that just the opposite happened. Parenthetically, we note that this type of treatment effect change over time is so uncommon that longer-term studies of effective drugs are commonly referred to as “durability of effect” studies, underscoring the widely-held expectation that just maintaining the same level of efficacy over a longer period (especially a year or more) is a strongly positive result. Furthermore, after speaking with management yesterday, we believe it quite possible that even longer-term treatment (18- or 24- months) could lead to a clear majority of patients achieving CR, as the company continues to search for evidence of a long-term treatment ‘plateau.'”
Overall, “Given this exceptional treatment effect, we not only view the success of the upcoming Phase 3 AURORA study […] as substantially de-risked, but also believe that initial uptake upon commercial launch will be positively impacted,” Arce concludes.
According to TipRanks, which measures analysts’ and bloggers’ success rate based on how their calls perform, five-star analyst Ed Arce is ranked #172 out of 4,513 analysts. Arce has a 50% success rate and garners 23.2% in his yearly returns. When recommending AUPH, Arce yields 55.9% in average profits on the stock.
TipRanks analytics indicate 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 $8.00, marking a nearly 62% upside from where the shares last closed.