Analysts Bullish on XOMA Corp (XOMA) While Awaiting Trial Results

Investors are patiently awaiting the results of XOMA Corp’s (NASDAQ:XOMA) EYEGUARD B Phase III trial. Shares of the company last closed at $4.48, hovering between its one-year low of $2.92 and one-year high of $5.95.

The EYEGUARD trial is testing gevokizumab, Xoma’s pipeline drug, in Behcet’s uveitis, an inflammatory disease commonly found in the eye. Behcet’s uveitis is primarily found in Turkey, parts of the Middle East, and East Asia.

The primary endpoint of the study is a statistically significant decrease in the number of uveitis exacerbations over a six month period. The trial includes a random sample of overseas patients. Half of the patients received gevokizumab and half received placebo. Since the last data points were collected at the end of May, analysts are expecting results any day now.

Last week, Edward Tenthoff of Piper Jaffray reiterated an Overweight rating on Xoma with an $8 price target. The analyst is optimistic about the impending EYEGUARD-B trial due to “mechanism of action, activity of other IL-1β agents and Phase II data.” Tenthoff cites that Amgen’s Kineret and Novartis’ Ilaris have both “shown activity in Behcet’s disease,” but he notes that “gevokizumab may be able to maintain homeostatic mechanisms of IL-1 and thereby reduce the risk of infection, a side-effect of the other therapies.”

Tenthoff concludes, “Despite the small number of patients in the prior Phase II Behcet’s trials, the unanimous response to gevokizumab therapy, the drug’s MOA and the indications of efficacy from other IL-1β drugs gives us a high level of confidence in positive EYEGUARD-B data.” Tenthoff expects the data to become available shortly. The analyst sees the stock as a good risk/reward scenario, considering it ended the first quarter with $67.5 million in cash.

Gevokizumab is being developed and commercialized in partnership with Servier, a French pharmaceutical company. Xoma received approximately $35 million upfront, and Tenthoff notes that Xoma owes Servier “15 million Euros, now due over the next 3 years.”

Edward Tenthoff has a 63% success rate recommending stocks with a +29.3% average return per rating when measured over one year and no benchmark.

Separately, Adnan Butt of RBC Capital Markets reiterated an Outperform rating on XOMA with an $8 price target last week. Although Butt expects the results to be released shortly, he notes that a “read-through is challenging” because “Pilot and Phase II data showed strong efficacy but Phase III design and endpoints are different.” The analyst currently believes the Phase III study has a 55% probability of success, which “should take shares up ~100%+.”

Butt believes there is a 25% chance of a negative outcome, which “could take shares down ~50%+.” There is a 20% chance that the trial will miss the primary endpoint but its secondary endpoints will “demonstrate strong benefit,” in which shares will either remain unchanged or drop 25%.

Adnan Butt has a 53% success rate recommending stocks with a +1.2% average return when measured over one year no benchmark.

According to TipRanks, the analyst consensus for Xoma is Moderate Buy.

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