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William Blair Upgrades Vital Therapies Ahead Of September Liver Failure Data

William Blair Upgrades Vital Therapies Ahead Of September Liver Failure Data
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Vital Therapies, Inc. (NASDAQ: VTL) has announced the release of data for its liver failure treatment candidate. 

The Analysts

William Blair analyst Y. Katherine Xu upgraded Vital Therapies from Market Perform to Outperform and raised the price target from $10 to $35.

The Thesis

Top-line data from Vital Therapies’ study on the treatment of liver failure is expected to be released in September, Xu said in a Monday note. (See the analyst's track record here.) 

The data on an extracorporeal liver-assist device, or ELAD, versus the standard of care in severe acute alcoholic hepatitis is a key event for Vital, and William Blair raised its estimates accordingly, the analyst said. 

“We note that there are 60,000 sAAH patients annually in the United States and EU, who are associated with about 50-percent mortality. About 60 percent of sAAH patients are younger patients without renal failure or severe coagulopathy, which are part of the main inclusion criteria for VTL-308. Currently, there are no treatment options that provide a survival benefit in this indication, and there is no competition in the clinic addressing this population." 

Xu notes that should this study be successful, ELAD will likely become the standard of care, increasing the peak sales estimate from $850 million to $1.5 billion.

William Blair raised its projection for the treatment's probability of success from 55 percent to 70 percent.

Price Action

Vital Therapies shares were rallying 9.26 percent to $8.85 at the time of publication Monday. 

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Latest Ratings for VTL

Sep 2018Cantor FitzgeraldDowngradesOverweightNeutral
Sep 2018Raymond JamesDowngradesOutperformMarket Perform
Aug 2018Cantor FitzgeraldInitiates Coverage OnOverweight

View More Analyst Ratings for VTL
View the Latest Analyst Ratings

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