Leerink reiterates outperform rating on Aurinia post-data

Leerink reiterated its “outperform” rating on Aurinia Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:AUPH; TSX:AUP) after the company reported additional positive data for its voclosporin drug candidate in patients with active lupus nephritis.

Analyst Joseph Schwartz writes that data presented today at the European Lupus Meeting showed that 70% of patients (seven-of-10) achieved complete remission (CR) at 24 weeks, compared with 57% (four-of-seven patients) reported in July.

“We believe this data further supports the efficacy behind voclosporin in lupus nephritis and should help remove the cautious sentiment surrounding the stock since the Phase 2b AURA-LV data announcement,” he added.

Mr. Schwartz said that of the 10 patients treated with voclosporin, 80% showed partial response at 24 weeks. “More encouraging, in our view, is that those who achieved CR at eight weeks (five-of-10) remained in remission at 24 weeks while two new patients achieved remission,” he added. There were no unexpected safety signals observed.

Today's data, combined with the positive Ph.2b AURA-LV data, bodes well for voclosporin going forward, he said.

“Having shown a statistical significant improvement in 23.7 mg BID dose in the AURA-LV study (same dose as AURION study), we believe investors will begin to see beyond the panic selling behind patient deaths and gain comfort in the drug's efficacy,” he added.