Wainwright starts Mirna Therapeutics at buy

H.C. Wainwright initiated coverage of Mirna Therapeutics (NASDAQ:MIRN) with a ‘buy” rating and $6 price target, saying the company’s promising microRNA technology “could be a gift to long-term investors.” The stock was quoted at $2.50 on Monday afternoon.

“We believe the current Mirna share price offers an attractive entry point for long-term investors, as the stock is trading well below the $73-million June cash position,” writes analyst Shaunak Deepak.

“Mirna’s first-in-class microRNA drug candidate, MRX34, has shown confirmed clinical activity in advanced cancer patients,” he added. “We expect additional data at ASCO 2017 to inform Phase 2 trials later that year.”

In an effort to refine the targeting of MRX34, Mr. Deepak said Mirna intends to initiate a Phase 1b translational study in biopsy-accessible melanoma patients by the end of 2016. The study should complement Mirna’s ongoing Phase 1b study to investigate biomarkers and further evaluate MRX34 activity by collecting serial tissue and blood samples in skin cancer patients.

“If biomarker analyses are fruitful, Mirna may be able to target patients who are more likely to respond to MRX34 in its subsequent trial designs,” he added. “We believe Mirna's current timeline to initiate Phase 2 trials in melanoma and renal cell carcinoma by late-2017 allows the company ample time to more fully understand the drug before advancing it in to late-stage development.”