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With More Than 100% Upside Seen In Idera Pharma Shares, Baird Initiates At Outperform

With More Than 100% Upside Seen In Idera Pharma Shares, Baird Initiates At Outperform
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Baird initiated coverage of Idera Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ: IDRA) with an Outperform rating and a $5 price target, suggesting 100-percent upside from current levels.

Profiling the company, Baird said Idera is an emerging oncology and rare disease company, focusing on nucleic acid-based therapies. The company's lead candidate, imo-2125, has shown promise in treating refractory melanoma.

Opportunity In Refractory Melanoma And Beyond

Analyst Michael Ulz noted that IMO-2125 is a TLR9 agonist, being developed in combination with checkpoint inhibitors and as a monotherapy. Intratumoral injection of IMO-2125 has shown promising activity in combination with Bristol-Myers Squibb Co (NYSE: BMY)'s Yervoy (ipilimumab) in PD-1 refractory, metastatic melanoma, the analyst added.

This, according to the analyst, supports rapid expansion into the Phase 2 portion of the study, with data expected in the first quarter of 2018. More importantly, the analyst noted that opportunity also exists beyond refractory melanoma, with a Phase 1 monotherapy study recently initiated and a Phase 2 study in combination with checkpoint inhibitors expected to begin in 2H17, both across multiple tumor types including non-small cell lung (NSCLC), head and neck, renal cell and bladder cancer.

This was confirmed by Idera CEO Vin Milano in an exclusive interview with Benzinga. "The broader opportunity for 2125, theoretically, is it could be used in many different tumor types and many different cancer indications." Milano noted. However, Idera is yet to prove that, even in the phase 1 portion of the study.

Other Upcoming Idera Catalysts

  • Results of a mid-stage trial of IMO-8400 in dermatomyositis, a rare inflammatory disease of the muscle and skin, is due in the first half of 2018. Baird believes IMO-8400 has potential in dermatomyositis, given the strong scientific rationale and activity observed in a related autoimmune disease, namely psoriasis.
  • Baird thinks the third generation antisense, or 3GA, platform has the potential to improve the efficacy and safety of prior generation technologies. The firm noted that the first clinical candidate has been selected, with additional details expected in the second half of 2017 and Phase I study set to be started in the first quarter of 2018.

At the time of writing, Idera Pharma shares were rallying 8.44 percent at $2.44.

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