Maxim downgrades Opexa Therapeutics to hold

Maxim Group downgraded Opexa Therapeutics (NASDAQ:OPXA) to “hold” from “buy” and removed its previous price target of $18 after the company failed a Phase 2b trial in secondary progressive multiple sclerosis (SPMS). The stock is changing hands at $1.02, down $2.37, in trading Friday afternoon.

Opexa’s T cell-based immunotherapy, Tcelna, did not meet the primary endpoint of brain atrophy and the secondary endpoint of reduced rate of disease progression also was not met.

“We do not see Opexa's partner, Merck Serono, moving forward with the trial or any additional investment in the program,” writes analyst Jason McCarthy.

“We have not yet spoken to management and have not seen the complete data, but at this point, we think it is unlikely that Tcelna can move forward in MS,” he added.

Mr. McCarthy said there are other programs, such as neuromyelitis optica that may be able to move forward, but “we will need to better understand the implications of today's news for the company's ability to continue to develop this program and the data implications in other programs. We also have some concerns that its cash balance is low.”