Shares of Humanigen (HGEN) gained 3.4% on October 30 after it announced that the first patient in its Phase 3 COVID-19 trial had been treated with its lenzilumab drug at the MedStar Washington Hospital Center in Washington, D.C.
MedStar is one of 18 sites in the U.S. approved to enroll eligible patients, and the primary goal of the Phase 3 randomized, double-blind, multicenter, placebo-controlled clinical trial is to investigate if lenzilumab, which was designed to prevent and treat the cytokine storm immune hyper-response, can speed up the recovery time of hospitalized COVID-19 patients.
Up to 89% of COVID-19 patients are at risk of developing the cytokine storm complication, which causes inflammation and has been the leading cause of COVID-19 deaths.
“Given the growing number of cases in the D.C. area seen in the past few weeks, we were particularly motivated to ensure our Phase 3 study was enrolling and accessible,” CEO Cameron Durrant said. “We have been impressed with the hospital leadership and trial investigators at MedStar Washington, and worked together with speed and efficiency to get this trial location ready to enroll patients.”
Lenzilumab is also being evaluated in combination with Yescarta, a treatment developed by Kite, a Gilead company, for patients with relapsed or refractory large B-cell lymphoma after two or more lines of systemic therapy, as part of a collaboration.
Humanigen shares have soared 338% year-to-date, and analysts currently have a unanimous Strong Buy consensus rating on the stock, based on 3 Buys and no Holds or Sells. At $27, the average analyst price target implies 152% upside potential.
H.C. Wainwright’s Joseph Pantginis recently initiated coverage of HGEN with a Buy rating and $31 price target (190% upside potential), arguing investors “are not fully aware that lenzilumab could be on the market this year through an EUA and how advanced the company really is.”
Pantginis further commented, “We believe the shares should be attractive to a broader set of investors based on: (1) commercialization is on the horizon; (2) upcoming positive data news flow should be abundant; and (3) development in several indications continues, which could significantly expand the overall market potential.” (See Humanigen stock analysis on TipRanks)
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