Equillium Reports Positive Itolizumab Phase 1 Data; Shares Rise 7.6% After-Hours

Clinical stage biotechnology company Equillium Inc. reported positive data from its Phase 1 EQUALISE study evaluating Itolizumab in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Shares rose about 7.6% in Tuesday’s extended trading session.

Equillium’s (EQ) Itolizumab, a monoclonal antibody, was designed for the treatment of severe autoimmune and inflammatory disorders. In the study, the drug was found to be safe and well tolerated.

Equillium’s Chief Medical Officer, Dolca Thomas, M.D., said, “These initial data from the EQUALISE study demonstrate a favourable safety and tolerability profile for subcutaneous delivery of itolizumab in SLE patients, with the most frequent adverse events being mild to moderate injection site reactions.”

Thomas further added, “We look forward to assessing outcomes with six months of subcutaneous itolizumab administration in the Type B EQUALISE study in lupus nephritis patients.”

The company expects to present complete data from Type A SLE patients at a future medical conference. It plans to announce interim data from Type B LN patients before the end of 2021.  (See Equillium stock analysis on TipRanks)

On March 25, Stifel Nicolaus analyst Derek Archila reiterated a Buy rating on the stock and lowered the price target to $13 (96.7% upside potential) from $14.

Archila commented, “We believe there are several clinical catalysts that will de-risk itolizumab in multiple indications this year. At its current valuation, we think the stock reflects mostly risk-adjusted value in aGVHD leaving opportunities in systemic lupus/lupus nephritis and asthma as free call options.”

Turning to the rest of the Street, the stock has a Strong Buy consensus rating alongside an average analyst price target of $15.60 (136% upside potential), based on 5 unanimous Buys. Shares have gained about 154.2% over the past year.

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