Roth upgrades Cempra to buy

Roth Capital Partners upgraded Cempra (NASDAQ:CEMP) to “buy” and maintained its $8 price target after the company announced positive Phase 3 results in the first of two skin infection (ABSSSI) studies with Taksta. The stock was quoted at $4.20 near midday on Feb. 27.

Taksta is a pill that has been used in Europe for the last 40 years, with increasing use in ABSSSI while its resistance has been minimal.

“We are most impressed with the 100% efficacy in the 99 patients with MRSA infections, which demonstrates to us a strong efficacy profile and bodes well for the bone and joint infection (BJI) results expected sometime in 2017,” writes analyst Michael Higgins.

Taksta's tolerability was on par with the active comparator, including dropouts and SAEs. “We find this profile is supportive for Taksta's outlook in refractory bone and joint infections,” he added.

Given the number of generic antibiotics treating ABSSSI, Mr. Higgins said he agrees with management that the commercial outlook for Taksta is in its use in BJIs.

“While we aren't certain if and when an NDA will be filed in BJI, we believe Taksta's potential for FDA approval in ABSSSI is likely,” he said.