Covid-19: Could Bellerphon Therapeutics’ INOpulse Help Address Hospital Ventilator Shortage?


Last year, according to the World Economic Forum, 77,000 new ventilators were enough to meet the market demand worldwide. For context, this month alone, New York City predicts a need for an extra 30,000 machines.

COVID-19’s impact has stretched hospital resources to almost breaking point, but micro-cap Bellerophon Therapeutics (BLPH) might just have a solution to mitigate against the lack of ventilators. Accordingly, the stock has shot up 113% year-to-date.

But H.C. Wainwright’s Andrew Fein believes the story is only beginning. Fein reiterated a Buy on Bellerophon, along with a $30 price target, which implies an impressive 168% upside from current levels. (To watch Fein’s track record, click here)

Bellerophon has been granted Emergency Expanded Access for INOpulse for the treatment of COVID-19. INOpulse is a small and portable nitric oxide delivery system, which has demonstrated it can reduce viral load as well as prevent virus replication in SARS-CoV.

One COVID-19 patient has already been treated and discharged from hospital and the focus now turns to the availability of units, costs, and further studies. A Phase 3 trial assessing INOpulse in the treatment of pulmonary hypertension associated with pulmonary fibrosis (PH-PF) patients is expected to begin sometime in 2Q20.

Although there are other nitric oxide delivery systems available, if proven successful, INOpulse could significantly reduce the load on hospitals. Due to the unit’s compact size and potential to address the earlier pulmonary stage of COVID-19, patients who would otherwise need the help of a ventilator, could possibly be treated away from hospital settings.

Fein said, “In speaking with management, the approximately hundreds of available units are currently in the process of being allocated, with potential manufacturing needs to be reassessed in the future. Importantly, we note the company remains in ongoing dialogue with the government, while we specifically highlight that the possibility of BARDA funding exists to address related operational costs. We view the expanded access program utilizing INOpulse treatment for COVID-19 patients as an important coal in the fire for reducing the burden of the ongoing pandemic, and we believe the INOpulse clinical program can continue its development in the interim.”

Based on one additional Buy rating published over the last 3 months, Bellerophon has a Moderate Buy consensus rating. The average price target is, like Fein’s, $30. (See Bellerophon stock analysis on TipRanks)

 

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