UPDATE: Piper Jaffray Upgrades MannKind After 'Busted' Call For Afrezza
In a report published Wednesday, Piper Jaffray analyst Dr. Joshua Schimmer upgraded shares of MannKind (NASDAQ: MNKD) from Underweight to Neutral and raised the price target from $2.00 to $6.50.
Schimmer noted his “busted” call for a negative FDA panel for Afrezza when the drug had an overwhelmingly positive vote for the drug for Type I and Type II diabetes. With management optimistic on approval and partnership at the July 15 PDUFA and positive news flow expected to drive shares higher, the analyst sees “little reason” to keep an underweight rating.
Piper Jaffray wrote, “While recent advances such as sensors, pumps and rapid acting insulin analogs make hypoglycemia far less life- threatening than it used to be, it remains a concern and leading cause of mortality in Type I patients. As such, there is an unmet need Afrezza may help address, but whether the drug hits this mark cleanly and powerfully enough to offset it's risks and succeed commercially remains a matter of contention among experts.
The rapid onset/offset of Afrezza was viewed by some as appealing, and they believed it would help minimize some patients' struggles with hypoglycemia and improve glucose titration for others in whom the current rapid acting analogs aren't fast enough. However, they note there are many causes of hypoglycemia in diabetes patients and not all will be addressed by the Afrezza PK profile; some theoretically may be worsened.”
The analyst concluded that commercial obstacles, including the pulmonary safety concerns, are contingent on the company MannKind partners with to sell the drug.
Shares of MannKind closed at $6.58 on Tuesday and are currently up more than 6.5 percent at $7.01.
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