BTIG starts Akebia Therapeutics at buy; PT $30

iStock-481457829.jpg

BTIG initiated coverage of Akebia Therapeutics (NASDAQ:AKBA) with a “buy” rating and price target of $30. The stock closed at $15.40 on Dec. 6.

Akebia is focused on the development of Vadadustat, a novel oral, once-daily HIF-PH inhibitor for anemia secondary to chronic kidney disease (CKD).

“With a mechanism that more fully mimics the body’s response to low oxygen, Vadadustat has the potential for attaining hemoglobin control with material advantages, compared with current standard-of-care injectable erythropoiesis stimulating agents,” writes analyst Robert Hazlett.

Vadadustat has garnered large partnerships with Otsuka for the U.S. and EU, Mitsubishi Tanabe in Japan, and Vifor Pharma to assist with U.S. dialysis distribution.

Mr. Hazlett said Vadadustat is in a comprehensive Phase 3 program in dialysis-dependent and non-dialysis renal anemia patients, with readouts expected in the first half of 2019.

Other Akebia HIF stabilizers are being developed for other uses, including inflammatory bowel disease, he said, adding that Vadadustat has the “potential to establish HIF-PH inhibitors as a new standard in the large renal anemia market.”