Leerink starts AC Immune at outperform

Leerink initiated coverage of AC Immune SA (NASDAQ:ACIU) with an “outperform” rating and $22 price target. The stock closed at $14.43 on Friday.

AC Immune is focused on developing novel medicines for neurodegenerative disorders. Its lead asset, crenezumab, which is partnered with Roche/Genentech, is a monoclonal antibody that binds multiple sub-types of beta-amyloid.

“After Phase 2 results that we believe show favorable efficacy trends in milder Alzheimer's disease (AD) patients, crenezumab has been advanced into a pivotal Phase 3 trial, which is notably exploring a four-fold higher dose in an earlier, less progressed AD population,” writes analyst Paul Mattels.

“Our 40% odds-of-success balances optimism regarding Phase 3 design and product profile, with the much higher than average risk of development in AD,” he added.

Mr. Mattels said AC Immune also has a robust drug discovery platform, with additional neurology assets in early development. These include ACI-35 (anti-tau vaccine, in collaboration with Janssen in Phase 1b; an anti-tau antibody, partnered with Roche, in Phase 1; and ACI-24, a wholly-owned abeta vaccine in Phase 1b/Phase 1 development for AD and Down syndrome.