Market Overview

Arbutus Biopharma Taken Off Of Chardan's Sell List

Arbutus Biopharma Taken Off Of Chardan's Sell List

Chardan has upgraded Arbutus Biopharma Corp (NASDAQ: ABUS) to Neutral following its underperformance versus Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ: ARWR) and the S&P biotech index.

Over the past month, Arbutus shares have dropped 26 percent, in contrast to both Arrowhead shares (+11 percent) and the SPDR S&P Biotech Index (+9 percent).

The Space Is Rather Crowded

However, Chardan is still cautious on the stock, as it believes Arbutus' lead hepatitis B virus (HBV) asset, ARB-1467, has pre-clinical results inferior to competitors in the HBV RNAi therapy space.

Related Link: 5 Reasons Arrowhead Pharma Is A Hepatitis B Leader

The competition includes ARC-520 from Buy-rated Arrowhead, ALN-HBV from Buy-rated Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: ALNY), and BB-HB-331 from unrated Benitec Biopharma Ltd (ADR) (NASDAQ: BNTC).

Chardan noted that the remainder of Arbutus' HBV pipeline consists of previously failed and/or pre-clinical assets, which face competition from unrated Gilead Sciences, Inc. (NASDAQ: GILD), Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ), Assembly Biosciences Inc (NASDAQ: ASMB) and private companies Replicor and Enyo.


"Clinical trial phase IIa readouts in 3Q16 and 4Q16 are, in our view, unlikely to generate the HBV surface antigen (HBsAg) suppression seen with ARC-520 in Arrowhead's phase IIa study; such HBsAg suppression, we believe, demonstrates a potentially important advance in 'curative' HBV therapy," analyst Madhu Kumar wrote in a note.

Kumar, who has a price target of $3.25 on the stock, assumes a 25 percent probability of success (POS) for ARB-1467, and said Arrowhead, with multiple phase IIb trials ongoing, has a first-mover advantage in the HBV RNAi space.

Shares of Arbutus closed Wednesday's regular trading session at $3.22.

Latest Ratings for ABUS

May 2020WedbushUpgradesNeutralOutperform
Mar 2020BairdMaintainsOutperform
Mar 2020Chardan CapitalUpgradesNeutralBuy

View More Analyst Ratings for ABUS
View the Latest Analyst Ratings


Related Articles (ABUS)

View Comments and Join the Discussion!

Posted-In: Analyst Color Biotech Long Ideas Upgrades Health Care Price Target Analyst Ratings Trading Ideas

Latest Ratings

TPICJP MorganDowngrades26.0
ORAJP MorganUpgrades82.0
View the Latest Analytics Ratings
Don't Miss Any Updates!
News Directly in Your Inbox
Subscribe to:
Benzinga Premarket Activity
Get pre-market outlook, mid-day update and after-market roundup emails in your inbox.
Market in 5 Minutes
Everything you need to know about the market - quick & easy.
Fintech Focus
A daily collection of all things fintech, interesting developments and market updates.
Thank You

Thank you for subscribing! If you have any questions feel free to call us at 1-877-440-ZING or email us at