WB starts Audentes Therapeutics at OP

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William Blair initiated coverage of Audentes Therapeutics (NASDAQ:BOLD) with an “outperform” rating and $35 fair value estimate. The stock closed at $25 on Oct. 16.

Analyst Raju Prasad writes that the company is taking a unique approach to identifying rare diseases with single gene defects, regardless of target organ, that may be suitable candidates for adeno-associated virus (AAV) gene therapy.

“We view its AAV capsid technology as de-risked, as it is licensed from REGENXBIO (similar to AveXis’s AVXS-101),” he said.

In addition, he views the company’s in-house manufacturing capabilities as a positive step ahead of what will be important data from AT132 in X-linked myotubular myopathy and AT342 in Crigler-Najjar syndrome anticipated by year-end or early 2018.

“On strong proof-of-concept data, we believe shares could appreciate 20% to 25% from current levels,” he added.