Mizuho analyst Difei Yang is out initiating a confident first note on Marinus Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:MRNS), eyeing “strong” prospective drivers awaiting the drug maker in the back half of this year and a compelling risk/reward at play.
MRNS is “leveraging a promising molecule in multiple CNS indications,” cheers the analyst, who initiates a Buy rating on MRNS stock with a $13 price target. Notably, Yang’s 12-month target expectations stand tall, suggesting a close to 204% upside from current levels. (To watch Yang’s track record, click here)
“Following in the footsteps of Sage Therapeutics […], Marinus is developing a similar molecule (Ganaxolone) with potential in multiple CNS indications including postpartum depression (PPD). We see the recent positive data from Sage in PPD and major depressive disorder (MDD) as positive read-throughs for Marinus,” writes Yang.
Worthy of note, the biotech company’s lead asset Ganaxolone is designed with a new mechanism of action, demonstrated efficacy and safety, as well as convenient dosing to help patients suffering from epilepsy and neuropsychiatric disorders have better quality of life. Moreover, the reason Yang gives kudos to Sage for clearing the pathway for MRNS to succeed is that the formulation of Ganaxolone is alike to Sage’s Brenaxolone.
“Multiple clinical trials have shown the therapeutic benefits of both companies’ molecules in a number of CNS indications including Postpartum depression (PPD), Major depressive disorder (MDD) and CDKL5 Disorder,” continues Yang.
By the close of 2017, Sage posted positive results of its lead drug candidate from a Phase 3 trial in PPD as well as a Phase 2 trial in MDD- read-throughs that leave Yang hopeful for Marinus’ molecule.
Yang asserts, “We are encouraged by these results and see them as positive read-throughs to Marinus given the similarities of both companies’ molecules. We believe Sage has paved the way for Marinus and see potential to create value in multiple CNS indications with Ganaxolone.”
Looking ahead, MRNS has a top-line data read out from part one of its Phase 2 trial evaluating Ganaxolone in severe PPD patients expected in the third quarter of this year. “We expect this to be an important share moving event,” contends the analyst.
Next up: MRNS stands to post top-line Phase 2 data from a second trial of Ganaxolone oral in moderate PPD patients in the fourth quarter. MRNS closed last year with $58.4 million in cash, which the drug maker’s team anticipates can fuel operations through 2020.