Leerink starts CymaBay at OP

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Leerink initiated coverage of CymaBay Therapeutics (NASDAQ:CBAY) with an “outperform” rating and a price target of $12. The stock closed at $6.33 on Aug. 22.

CymaBay is currently developing seladelpar for the lead indication of primary biliary cholangitis (PBC), an autoimmune disease that causes progressive destruction of the bile ducts in the liver.

In July 2017, the company announced positive interim results from an ongoing low-dose Phase 2 study of seladelpar in patients with PBC. Seladelpar lowered and, in some cases, normalized, patients’ key liver markers of disease.

Analyst Joseph Schwartz writes that seladelpar is a potent and selective agonist of PPAR-delta, a nuclear receptor that regulates genes involved in bile acid/sterol, lipid and glucose metabolism and inflammation.

“Seladelpar may have a distinct therapeutic profile relative to [Intercept Pharmaceuticals’] Ocaliva, fibrates in the PPAR-alpha class, glitazones in the PPAR-gamma class, and the dual PPAR-alpha/delta agonist elafibranor (GFT505),” he added.