Analysts Lay Out The Case For Two Biotechs: Galena Biopharma Inc (GALE) and Marinus Pharmaceuticals Inc (MRNS)

Amid drug trials and pipeline updates, analysts remain bullish on both Galena Biopharma Inc (NASDAQ:GALE) and Marinus Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:MRNS). Analysts dive into Galena Biopharma’s diverse pipeline and a recent data release from Marinus.

Galena Biopharma Inc

While Galena Biopharma does not have any commercialized products, the company has a robust pipeline of cancer therapies. Vernon Bernardino of FBR & Co. weighed in on the company’s pipeline, noting that while most investors are focused on NeuVax, the company has much more up its sleeve.

NeuVax is in Phase 3 testing for breast cancer and investors are looking forward to the safety and futility data from the trial later this month, which Bernardino expects to serve as a “positive catalyst.” He continues, “As a reminder… NeuVax will not read out until 2018. However, we believe a positive recommendation for continuing [trials] potentially has positive ramifications on the continuation of Phase II studies of NeuVax in combination with Herceptin in high-risk breast cancer patients.”

Aside from NeuVax, Bernardino points to pipeline products GALE-301, GALE-302, and GALE-401. GALE-301 is in Phase 1/2 ongoing trials while the compound of GALE-301 and 302 is in Phase 1b ongoing trials. Both drugs are treatments for specific forms of ovarian, endometrial, and breast cancer. GALE-401, on the other hand, is in Phase 2 testing for essential thrombocythemia; an orphan disease that occurs when the body produces too many blood platelets. Recent data demonstrated a strong safety profile for the drug. Thanks to these valuable pipeline assets, in addition to others, Bernardino calls the company’s pipeline “undervalued.”

Bernardino reiterates an Outperform rating on Galena Biopharm with a $5 price target, pointing to its robust pipeline.

According to, which measures analysts’ and bloggers’ success rate based on how their calls perform, analyst Vernon Bernardino has a yearly average return of -14.5% and a 30.7% success rate. Bernardino has a 19.4% average return when recommending GALE, and is ranked #3847 out of 3974 analysts.

As of this writing, all 3 analysts who cover the stock are bullish with an average 12-month price target of $4.67, marking a 125% potential upside from where shares last closed.

Marinus Pharmaceuticals Inc

Shares of Marinus plummeted more than 70% this week since the company announced that a pipeline drug, ganaxolone, failed a late-stage seizure study. Brian Abrahams of Jefferies remains optimistic on the company despite this setback, though slashes his price target.

Ganaxolone is in Phase 3 testing as an oral treatment for seizures. It failed Phase 3 testing as an oral treatment as it did not meet its primary endpoint of significantly reducing seizures over a 28-day period. Despite the disappointing news, Abrahams is not discouraged. He comments, “Despite the failure, confirmation of some efficacy could maintain some opportunity in future settings,” making it a promising drug for other conditions.

While the oral ganaxolone failed, Abrahams still has hope for the IV version. He notes this drug is in early development and high-risk, but could support a $2.50 valuation. He explains, “In the IV setting, dizziness/sedation and bioavailability observed in the partial seizure setting are less significant issues, though the development path in [status epilepticus] is less tried-and-true.” Abrahams maintains a 20% chance of success for the IV treatment with potential revenues of $268 million.

Abrahams reiterates a Buy rating on Marinus, but lowers his price target from $13 to $2.50.

According to TipRanks, 1 analyst is bullish on the stock, while 3 are neutral. The average 12-month price target between these 4 analysts is $2.25, marking a 57% potential upside from where shares last closed.


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