Sophiris Bio Inc (SPHS): Prostate Cancer Drug Continues To Impress

Following Sophiris Bio Inc’s (NASDAQ:SPHS) fourth-quarter and 2016 financial results released yesterday coupled with last week’s update on its prostate cancer program, Rodman & Renshaw analyst Joseph Pantginis makes a bullish case for the biotech firm.

In reaction, sizing up the firm’s Phase 2 b trial to be well “underway with more color” and a solid financial picture to carry out the clinical pathway, the analyst reiterates a Buy rating on SPHS with a price target of $6, which represents a close to 116% increase from where the shares last closed.

In last week’s Phase 2a presentation, Sophiris revealed that 11 of 18 patients in the proof-of-concept trial responded to the firm’s pipeline drug PRX302, a drug designed to selectively target and destroy prostate tissue, with two total removals of target tumor issue and nine partial tumor ablations. Of the 1, six saw tumor growth while one experience no change. The analyst underscores that though the trial operated without using an optimized dose or a delivery method, it still yielded this data, with only mildly severe adverse events, correlated with either the drug as well as or because of the injection technique. “In summary, administration of PRX302 displayed clinical activity with the ability to ablate prostate tumor cells with minimal genitourinary side effects,” explains the analyst.

Additionally, the biotech firm kick-started the open label Phase 2b trial for PRX302 in localized prostate cancer in the U.S. as well as the U.K., which is anticipated to enroll approximately 40 patients with a biopsy data read-out from second doses likely due by third quarter of 2018.

“We believe that a key investment driver for the product is that it could provide a powerful new option to patients in either category by delaying or even preventing more aggressive treatments. These aggressive treatments include surgeries like radical prostatectomy, which comes with serious side effects such as urinary incontinence and sexual issues. We believe that the PRX302 safety profile and activity towards these two conditions thus far may allow it to carve out a niche between noninvasive therapeutic options and invasive surgical options. Further, a localized treatment like PRX302 may increase overall safety and prevent off target effects, all within the physician’s office setting,” Pantginis concludes.

For the fourth quarter, Sophiris reported a loss per share of ($0.02), compared to the analyst’s projection of ($0.10) and consensus of ($0.11). For 2016, SPHS posted a loss per share of ($0.49), compared to the analyst’s expectation for ($0.45) and consensus of ($0.52). The biotech firm closed 2016 with $29.0 million in cash, which should offer a safe cushion through the close of 2018.

According to TipRanks, which measures analysts’ and bloggers’ success rate based on how their calls perform, Joseph Pantginis is ranked #4,486 out of 4,556 analysts. Pantginis has a 32% success rate and faces a loss of 16.4% in his yearly returns. When recommending SPHS, Pantginis loses 3.4% in average profits on the stock.

TipRanks analytics show SPHS as a Buy. Based on 2 analysts polled by TipRanks in the last 3 months, both analysts rate a Buy on Sophiris stock. The 12-month average price target stands at $6.00, marking a nearly 116% upside from where the stock is currently trading.

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