UPDATE: Stifel Initiates Coverage on Tekmira, Notes "Enthusiasm" for RNAi
In a report published Friday, Stifel analyst Stephen Willey initiated coverage on Tekmira Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: TKMR) with a Buy rating and $19.00 price target.
Willey noted that Tekmira is looking to capitalize on the growing “enthusiasm” for RNA interference (RNAi) based therapeutics by building a group of clinical candidates across indications including oncology and infectious disease. The analyst commented, “We believe the combination of optionality around a potentially best-in-class oncology candidate (TKM-PLK1) known to play a pivotal role in regulating critical cell cycle events across a number of different tumor types, a fully-funded collaboration with the U.S. government that could result in the early procurement of a first-in-class antiviral agent (TKM-Ebola), an expanding pipeline of wholly-owned opportunities with freedom-to-operate around additional RNAi targets of choice, and the continued monetization of its LNP technology creates a highly-favorable risk/reward at these levels.”
Stifel is positive on PLK1 as a validated oncogenic target and believed the drug will overcome historical limitations accompanying with conventional drug development. Willey specified, “We believe (1) encouraging mid-FY14 P1/2 expansion cohort data in patients with GI-derived neuroendocrine tumors (NETs) and adrenocortical carcinoma (ACC) would serve as the basis for initiating a pivotal P3 study by YE14; and (2) differential expression data demonstrating patients with PLK1+ hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) have meaningfully-shorter (>2.5x) long-term survival rates provides a sound biological rationale for the soon-to-initiate P1 study.”
Shares of Tekmira closed at $13.00 on Thursday and are currently up 7.85% at $14.02.
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