Take your eye off the ball, and you might have just missed a home run. Veteran players of the stock picking game know that biotechs are capable of delivering a win at what feels like the drop of a hat. How do they do it?
It comes down to the nature of the industry itself. Unlike names in other sectors, biotech companies rely on only a few key indicators like study results or regulatory approvals to determine whether or not sustainable revenues are on the horizon. As a result, a favorable outcome can act as a catalyst that sends shares flying out of the ballpark. For this reason, risk-tolerant investors flock to these stocks. However, biotech stocks are famous for being risky as the opposite also holds true.
This makes it difficult to separate the biotechs with massive growth prospects from those poised to strike out. Don’t worry, Wall Street analysts can lend a hand with that.
Turning to Wedbush analyst Liana Moussatos for guidance, we wanted to check out some of her recent picks in the biotech space to see if she could steer us towards any game-changers. After running the tickers through TipRanks’ database, we found out that three recently scored Buy ratings from the rest of the Street and sport triple-digit upside potential.
Liquidia Technologies, Inc. (LQDA)
By leveraging its innovative PRINT technology, Liquidia wants to enhance the clinical profile of approved active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs). Following its recent data readout, several analysts think this biotech is a long-term winner.
On April 30, the company published the final data set from the pivotal Phase 3 INSPIRE trial for its lead candidate, LIQ861, as a presentation on the International Society for Heart & Lung Transplantation virtual education platform (ISHLTv). The therapy is a dry powder formulation of inhaled treprostinil (reference drug TYVASO), and was designed for the treatment of Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension (PAH).
Based on the trial’s final analysis, the data was consistent with earlier results, with the asset exhibiting a robust safety profile in 121 patients. It should be noted that 113, or 93% of these patients, completed two months of treatment.
Calling LIQ861 “potentially best-in-class”, Moussatos points out that it was evaluated across doses ranging from 26.5 mcg to 159 mcg, and no drug-related serious adverse events (SAEs) were witnessed. The implications? LQDA is progressing right on track, with the therapy’s PDUFA date in PAH slated for November 24, 2020.
Moussatos commented, “The NDA package included positive results from three clinical studies that highlight safety, tolerability and pharmacokinetics (PK) of LIQ861. Based on positive safety and efficacy data, we anticipate approval for LIQ861/PAH as highly likely and project potential U.S. approval on or before the November 24, 2020 PDUFA date, commercial U.S. launch in May 2021, and gross annual U.S. sales reaching over $660 million in 2027.”
Along with her Outperform call, Moussatos left a $41 price target on this biotech stock. This implies shares could skyrocket 606% in the next twelve months.
Like Moussatos, other analysts take a bullish approach when it comes to LQDA. With 100% Street support, the message is clear: the stock is a Strong Buy. At $37, the average price target puts the upside potential at 537%. (See Liquidia stock analysis on TipRanks)
ObsEva SA (OBSV)
Moving on to an entirely different segment of the biotech space, ObsEva develops treatments for women’s reproductive health, including Linzagolix for endometriosis and uterine fibroids (UF), and OBE022 for the prevention of premature labor. While shares have climbed 27% higher in the last month, Wedbush believes its growth story is nowhere near its conclusion.
With management stating that COVID-19 won’t delay the Phase 3 trials for Linzagolix in UF, PRIMROSE 1 and PRIMROSE 2, Moussatos tells investors that OBSV is “on-track to report Linzagolix/UF primary endpoint results following 24 weeks of treatment from the PRIMROSE 1 trial and the 52 weeks of treatment results from the PRIMROSE 2 trial.”
In both of these trials, the company wants to demonstrate that both a 100mg once daily dose of Linzagolix without hormonal add-back therapy (ABT) and a 200mg once daily dose with ABT are effective and safe. It should also be noted that the primary endpoint of the PRIMROSE trials is response rate, which will be determined by the reduction in heavy menstrual bleeding (HMB) due to UF.
Speaking to the probability of success, Moussatos points out that in December 2019, the company published strong top-line data from the PRIMROSE 2 study, with the therapy meeting the 24-week primary endpoint, menstrual blood loss of less than 80 mL and equal to or greater than a 50% decrease from the baseline. It also exhibited a 93.9% responder rate for 200 mg with ABT and a 56.7% responder rate for 100 mg without ABT. Not to mention it met multiple important secondary endpoints including a drop in pain.
As a result, Moussatos thinks that the primary endpoint readout for the PRIMROSE 1 study will most likely be positive. She added, “ObsEva plans to submit an MAA and NDA for UF by year end 2020 and first half of 2021, respectively. Of note, ObsEva is engaged in discussion with commercial partners for Linzagolix and we anticipate a potential announcement in 2020. We project gross annual sales of more than $800 million in 2026 for UF.”
Based on all of the above, Moussatos left an Outperform rating on OBSV shares along with a $30 price target, which leaves room for a whopping 949% potential twelve-month gain.
Turning now to the rest of the Street, other analysts are in agreement. Only Buy ratings, 3 to be exact, have been received in the last three months, so the biotech stock gets a Strong Buy consensus rating. Should the $23.67 average price target be met, shares could soar 728% in the next year. (See ObsEva stock analysis on TipRanks)
Catabasis Pharmaceuticals (CATB)
Last up to bat, we have Catabasis Pharmaceuticals, which focuses on developing treatments for rare diseases. Even though it has already posted an impressive 49% one-month gain, if you ask Wedbush, there’s still plenty of fuel left in the tank.
For Moussatos, the key value driver is CATB’s lead asset, edasalonexent, a first-in-class oral NF-kB inhibitor for the treatment of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD). Management revealed on April 17 that it would be conducting a series of presentations on Phase 3 PolarisDMD baseline characteristics and edasalonexent compliance at the 2020 Muscular Dystrophy Association Virtual Poster Session. After this, the analyst believes top-line results from the global Phase 3 PolarisDMD trial, which are slated for release in Q4 2020, will serve as a major catalyst for shares. Not to mention positive data could open the door for a potential NDA submission in the first half of 2021.
Looking at the trial specifically, the patients enrolled in Phase 3 PolarisDMD exhibited similar baseline characteristics to the participants in the Phase 2 MoveDMD study. This is important because during Phase 2, treatment with edasalonexent was well tolerated and demonstrated optimal growth patterns.
On top of this, edasalonexent soft-gel capsules did not reduce compliance, which landed at 98%. Also noteworthy, in both Phase 2 MoveDMD and Phase 3 PolarisDMD, patients could swallow soft-gel capsules.
All of this prompted Moussatos to comment, “Based on robust Phase 2 safety and efficacy data, we anticipate positive results from PolarisDMD trial in Q4 2020. The Company also initiated an open-label extension trial (GalaxyDMD) designed to provide long-term safety results to support the NDA filing.”
As Moussatos estimates CATB’s cash runway will last until Q3 2021 and that gross edasalonexent sales will exceed $500 million in 2025, it’s no wonder she is optimistic. To this end, the analyst reiterated an Outperform rating and $15 price target, suggesting 152% upside potential.
Judging by the consensus breakdown, it has been relatively quiet when it comes to other analyst activity. Only one other review was published recently, but it was also bullish. Therefore, CATB earns a Moderate Buy consensus rating. The $37.50 average price target is more aggressive than Moussatos’ and implies 530% upside potential. (See Catabasis stock analysis on TipRanks)