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Mizuho Upgrades Audentes On Promising Gene Therapy Candidate

Mizuho Upgrades Audentes On Promising Gene Therapy Candidate
Benzinga's Top Upgrades, Downgrades For September 7, 2018
Benzinga's Top Upgrades, Downgrades For August 8, 2018

Despite a second-quarter earnings loss, Audentes Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ: BOLD)’s existing catalysts are reason enough for a bullish stance, according to Mizuho. 

The Analyst

Mihuzo analyst Difei Yang upgraded Audentes Therapeutics from Neutral to Buy and raised the price target from $38 to $45.

The Thesis

Audentes Therapeutics is developing the AT-132 program, a gene therapy designed for the treatment of X-Linked myotubular myopathy.

Patients treated in the trial so far are continuing to show significant improvements, Yang said in the Wednesday upgrade note. (See the analyst's track record here.) 

“All patients treated with AT-132 so far in the ASPIRO trial have shown increases in neuromuscular and respiratory function. Notably, a second patient has achieved ventilator independence subsequent to the 24-week assessment," the analyst said.

Muscle biopsy data from three trial participants showed robust myotubularin protein expression at week 24 compared to the baseline, according to Mizuho. "The histology of the cells improved drastically post-treatment on all patients," Yang said. 

Dose escalation is planned for the second group of patients receiving treatment in October, the analyst said, adding that the data will be "more than adequate" for approval if replicated in a Phase III study. 

“We believe yesterday's data reflects major progress and shows improvements across all patients dosed so far. We increased our pricing assumption for AT-132 to $1.6 million vs. $1 million previously, which we believe was too conservative when compared to other rare disease treatments in similar diseases settings such as spinal muscular atrophy." 

Price Action

Audentes Therapeutics shares were trading up 3.36 percent to $35.40 at the time of publication Wednesday. 

Related Links: 

The BLUE And The BOLD; Analyst Suggests Pair Trade Ahead Of Year-End Catalysts

The Week Ahead In Biotech: Conferences, PDUFA Dates And IPOs

Latest Ratings for BOLD

Sep 2018B. Riley FBRInitiates Coverage OnSell
Aug 2018CitigroupInitiates Coverage OnNeutral
Aug 2018MizuhoUpgradesNeutralBuy

View More Analyst Ratings for BOLD
View the Latest Analyst Ratings

Posted-In: Difei Yang MihuzoAnalyst Color Biotech Upgrades Price Target Analyst Ratings General Best of Benzinga


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