Morgan Stanley Says Parkinson's Candidate Makes Voyager Therapeutics A Buy

Voyager Therapeutics Inc VYGR faded this week on news of a CEO transition, but the firm caught a boost Friday from a new advocate.

The Rating

Morgan Stanley analyst Matthew Harrison initiated coverage of Voyager with an Overweight rating and $36 price target.

The Thesis

The neuroscience biotech’s lead candidate, a gene therapy for Parkinson’s disease, demonstrated a durable, exposure-dependent response in Phase 1 studies that inspire confidence in a $1-billion-plus market potential, Harrison said in a Friday note. 

The treatment has the opportunity to poach market share from deep brain stimulation, which sees about $250 million in U.S. sales, the analyst said. 

Morgan Stanley is projecting Phase 2 and 3 success based on positive early stage data and the ability of Voyager’s MRI-guided delivery to improve target precision. The two trials will run concurrently and provide “a clear back-up strategy limiting risk," Harrison said. 

“While we remain positive, the key risk in Phase 3 is that the initial effect size is not reproducible ... making the therapy not commercially relevant,” the analyst said. 

Voyager has near-term catalysts in durability updates and advancements in assets treating amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Friedreich’s Ataxia and Huntington’s disease, according to Morgan Stanley. 

Price Action

Voyager shares were down 1.68 percent at $18.99 at the time of publication Friday morning. 

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Posted In: Matthew HarrisonMorgan StanleyParkinson'sAnalyst ColorBiotechPrice TargetInitiationAnalyst RatingsGeneral