Ladenburg starts BioTime at buy

Ladenburg Thalmann has initiated coverage of BioTime (NYSE MKT, TASE:BTX) with a “buy” rating and $6 price target. The stock closed at $3.59 on Thursday.

“We view BioTime as roughly halfway through a restructuring designed to unlock shareholder value through separation of non-core assets and accelerated development of the company's cell therapy programs in ophthalmetry, aesthetics and orthopedics,” writes analyst Kevin DeGeeter.

He expects the company to make several announcements over the next six months that could serve as catalysts for BioTime shares, including presentation of proof-of-concept data from OpRegen, an ophthalmic program for dry AMD, in the first half next year; proof-of-concept data for the company’s lead facial aesthetics program, Renevia, in the first quarter; and completion of one or more additional divestiture/deconsolidation transactions to further reduce non-core expenses.

“By our estimates, OpRegen has peak end market revenue potential of $775-million-plus, while peak sales of Renevia for facial aesthetics may exceed $250-million,” Mr. DeGeeter added.