UPDATE: MLV & Co Upgrades Geron After Partial Hold Is Lifted
In a report published Friday, MLV & Co analyst George B. Zavoico upgraded the rating on Geron (NASDAQ: GERN) from Hold to Buy, and raised the price target from $2.00 to $4.25.
In the report, MLV & Co noted, “Earlier today, Geron Corp. announced that a partial clinical hold on an investigator sponsored trial (IST) of imetelstat in myelofibrosis (MF) was lifted by the FDA.
"This trial (NCT01731951), conducted by Dr. Ayalew Tefferi of the Mayo Clinic (Rochester, MN), was put on partial clinical hold in March 2014 due to safety concerns of liver toxicity. To lift the partial hold, Dr. Tefferi was obliged to provide the FDA with data regarding reversibility of the hepatotoxicity. We believe the FDA concluded that the data showed a risk-benefit ratio in favor of imetelstat. While the FDA's full clinical hold on Geron's ongoing trials of imetelstat in essential thrombocythemia (ET), polycythemia vera (PV), and multiple myeloma (MM) remains in place, we believe that Geron is now in a stronger position to convince the FDA to lift its full clinical hold and enable the company to proceed with its own Phase II trial in MF. If so, then we think the next MF trial could commence in early 2015.
"Consequently, we are lowering our risk-adjusted discount rate in our model from 50% to 40%, increasing our one-year price target from $2.00 to $4.25, and raising our rating of Geron from HOLD to BUY.”
Geron closed on Thursday at $3.15.
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