Ladenburg starts Bellerophon at buy

Ladenburg Thalmann initiated coverage of Bellerophon Therapeutics (NASDAQ:BLPH) with a “buy” rating and 12-month price target of $4.50. The stock closed at $1.18 on April 13.

Bellerophon is developing and optimizing INOpulse, a second generation, drug-device combination product for the outpatient management of chronic pulmonary diseases. INOpulse operates through the administration of nitric oxide as brief, controlled pulses that are timed to occur at the beginning of a breath.

Analyst Christopher James writes that the lead indication is pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH), a form of pulmonary hypertension (PH) that is closely related to persistent PH of the newborn. Bellerophon’s INOpulse program is an extension of the inhaled nitric oxide (iNO) technology widely used in hospitals for the treatment of a variety of conditions.

Chronic use of iNO therapy has previously been limited by a lack of a safe and compact delivery system for outpatient use, he added.

In January 2017, the FDA agreed to an accelerated clinical program, with the first trial assessing 6MWD and the second trial confirming the effects with a withdrawal design.

In October 2016, Bellerophon initiated a second Phase 2 study for INOpulse in PH-COPD and Phase 2 studies in PH-IPF (first patient enrolled in 2Q16).

“We would be buyers of Bellerophon at these depressed levels, as we consider two Phase 2 readouts and an interim peek into the first Phase 3 study to be major potential catalysts for 2017,” Mr. James said.