Leerink resumes coverage of Ardelyx at OP

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Leerink resumed coverage of Ardelyx (NASDAQ:ARDX) with an “outperform” rating and $13 price target. The stock closed at $6.40 on Oct. 16.

Analyst Seamus Fernandez writes that in the last nine months, the clinical profile of Ardelyx’s lead asset, tenapanor, a small molecule inhibitor of the sodium transporter, NHE3, has been validated in three Phase 3 studies in two separate indications: constipation-predominant irritable bowel syndrome (IBS-C) and in end-stage renal disease (ESRD) patients with hyperphosphatemia.

“Our conviction for Ardelyx lies in its hyperphosphatemia opportunity where tenapanor has the potential to address a significant unmet need in ESRD in a multi-billion dollar category where pill-burden leads to a significant degree of non-compliance with currently prescribed therapies,” he said.

“We are conservative on tenapanor’s IBS-C opportunity given the level of marketing investment required for a successful product and see a commercial partnership, which the company is currently pursuing, as crucial to the realized value of tenapanor for IBS-C and other potential constipation indications,” he added.