Roth starts Fibrocell Science at buy

Roth Capital Partners has initiated coverage of Fibrocell Science (NASDAQ:FCSC) with a “buy” rating and 12-month target price of $14. The stock closed at $5.28 on Monday.

“Leaning on 20 years of experience with autologous cell therapy, Fibrocell is establishing leadership for the treatment of rare skin and connective tissue disorders,” writes analyst Elemer Piros.

Fibrocell obtained FDA approval for its autologous cell therapy, azficel-T, for cosmetic use in 2011. Fibroblast skin cells are obtained from subjects through biopsy, expanded ex vivo, before reinjection into wrinkles.

Mr. Piros said the same product, utilizing the same processes, is being developed to provide therapeutic benefit for the treatment of voice disorders, including patients with the most severe form, chronic dysphonia, that face permanent loss.

The first trial, repairing vocal cords, is expected to readout in the second quarter next year, he noted. In the U.S., $12-billion to $13-billion is spent annually on the treatment of voice disorders.

Fibrocell, in collaboration with Intrexon, also is developing a genetically modified cell therapy with fibroblasts to replace the patient’s own diseased skin with healthy cells for the treatment of a rare form of epidermolysis bullosa. The program is slated to enter human testing in the second quarter next year, Mr. Piros added.