Roth starts Global Blood Therapeutics at buy

Roth Capital Partners initiated coverage of Global Blood Therapeutics (NASDAQ:GBT) as a “Focus Pick” with a “buy” rating and price target of $47. The stock closed at $17.45 on Monday

“In our view, Global Blood Therapeutics represents an attractive investment opportunity because its lead product, GBT440, has the potential to improve the standard of care for patients who suffer from sickle cell anemia (SCA),” writes analyst Mark Breidenbach.

GBT440 is slated to enter the pivotal HOPE trial later this year. “With promising early clinical data in hand, we believe Global Blood could be an attractive takeout target for any large biopharmaceutical company looking to expand its hematology portfolio,” he added.

Due to its mild safety profile, dosing simplicity, and straightforward mechanism of action, Mr. Breidenbach said GBT440 offers several advantages over the current standard-of-care pharmacologic intervention, hydroxyurea. GBT440 has already demonstrated its ability to elicit hematologic improvement in the clinic.

“We believe GBT440 could offer a relatively inexpensive, safe treatment option for symptomatic SCA patients, especially for those who are not yet considering curative options like hematopoietic transplant,” Mr. Breidenbach suggested

In addition, he said the applications for GBT440 might extend well beyond SCA. The company recently initiated a proof-of-concept trial in patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis on the heels of preclinical results showing GBT440’s ability to dramatically improve perfusion and survival of animals challenged with hypoxic environments and lung injury models.