Maxim starts Immune Pharma at buy; PT $3

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Maxim Group launched coverage of Immune Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:IMNP) with a “buy” rating and $3 price target. The stock closed at 57 cents on Jan. 4.

Immune’s bertilimumab is a monoclonal antibody (mAb), targeting eotaxin-1, a chemokine implicated in multiple inflammatory diseases, including bullous pemphigoid (BP) and ulcerative colitis (UC), with potential expansion to atopic dermatitis (AD) and asthma.

The lead indication is BP, a skin disease (severe blisters) with no approved therapies, although high dose steroids (which have detrimental side effects) are used.

Analyst Jason McCarthy writes that in an ongoing Phase 2 study, with 10-to-15 patients, interim data from the first six patients demonstrated 85% disease severity reduction and tapered steroid use. “More data are expected in the first half of 2018 and, given the unmet need, could move to a pivotal program,” he added.

In UC, he said a Phase 2 study is ongoing, with data expected in the fourth quarter of 2018. The company also has a second anti-inflammatory asset, Nanocyclo (topical cyclosporin), that will move into the clinic in AD and psoriasis in 2018.

“Immune Pharma could be an emerging player in the high value anti-inflammatory space with a unique mAb in bertilimumab,” Mr. McCarthy said.

The company has raised $18-million in capital, extending its runway into 2019, and brought in an experienced management team focused on execution of lead programs.

“We expect clinical trial enrollment to accelerate, more trials to initiate, and data points to be realized in 2018,” he added. “As such, we see catalysts ahead which, if positive, should break Immune shares out of the current valuation range.”