Maxim starts ContraVir Pharma at buy

Maxim Group has initiated coverage of ContraVir Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:CTRV) with a “buy” rating and price target of $4, calling the company an emerging anti-viral leader with two clean shots on goal. The stock closed at 97 cents on Thursday.

“ContraVir has two programs: one in shingles (Phase 3) and one in hepatitis B (Phase 1/2), both of which can be value drivers for the company,” writes analyst Jason Kolbert.

Based on Phase 2 data for the company’s FV-100 drug candidate for shingles, “we believe that the drug works,” he said. It reduces pain faster, quicker, and better than the standard of care, with with a superior once
a day/twice a day pill burden, he added. “We see the program as de-risked.”

Mr. Kolbert said the company’s CMX157 drug candidate is a much more potent analog of the antiviral drug tenofovir, and it potentially has fewer adverse events for the treatment of HBV. “We believe CMX157 could be the backbone of future regimens for chronic HBV infection,” he added.

Mr. Kolbert said the company has a great management team and two de-risked clinical programs in significant markets. “A distressed valuation has now created an attractive entry point for investors,” he added.