Stifel starts Voyager Therapeutics at buy

Stifel Research launched coverage of Voyager Therapeutics (NASDAQ:VYGR) with a “buy” rating and 12-month price target of $33. The stock closed at $11.81 on Thursday.

Voyager is a clinical stage-gene therapy company with the potential to be the market leader in design, development and commercialization of gene products focused on diseases of the central nervous system (CNS), writes analyst Katherine Breedis.

“Voyager has a strong management team with a proven track record in CNS drug delivery and development, AAV vector design, manufacturing and commercialization as well as a strong strategic collaboration with Sanofi/Genzyme,” she added.

Voyager’s lead asset, VY-AADC01 for the treatment of advanced Parkinson’s disease, is in Phase 1b development and on track for a topline read-out of proof-of-concept data in the fourth quarter this year.

She said Voyager has a strong balance sheet with $204-million of cash, as of March 31, 2016, which management believes will provide sufficient runway into 2019 and the start of Phase 3 development for VY-AADC01.

“Based on early data, we believe VY-AADC01 could receive U.S. approval and launch in 2021,” Ms. Breedis said. While Voyager has a deep pipeline of six preclinical CNS programs, VY-AADC01 is currently the company’s key driver.