Roth starts Gemphire at buy

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Roth Capital Markets launched coverage of Gemphire Therapeutics (NASDAQ:GEMP) with a “buy” rating and 12-month price target of $30. The stock closed at $9.54 on Oct. 18.

“Our rating on Gemphire is driven by our confidence in the clinical success of the company's one and only candidate, gemcabene, for the treatment of dyslipidemia and fatty liver disease,” writes analyst Yasmeen Rahimi.

She said gemcabene is equipped with a distinguished profile, ideal as an add-on therapy to statins for dyslipidemia patients, and especially for those at high-risk of cardio-metabolic manifestations.

Data on August 7 from the Phase 2b ROYAL-1 study reported a 17% LDL-C lowering effect, which was lower than the Street expectation, making investors opt for an exit and leaving Gemphire shares down 53%.

“We point out additional subgroup analyses revealed a 25% LDL-C reduction in patients with mixed dyslipidemia,” she added. “Based on our own extensive due diligence, it is clear that gemcabene achieves a consistent LDL-C lowering when combined with statins.”