HCW ups Vascular Biogenics to buy; PT $3

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H.C. Wainwright upgraded Vascular Biogenics (NASDAQ:VBLT) to “buy” from “neutral” but maintained its $3 price target, citing a 46% stock price decline since March, despite no negative news. The stock closed at $1.42 on Oct. 12.

In March, analyst Swayampakula Ramakanth downgraded the stock because of the failure of the Phase 3 GLOBE study of VB-111 for the treatment of glioblastoma multiforme (GBM). “At the time, we noted that despite the disappointment in GBM, we continued to see value in the company’s ovarian cancer program,” he added.

Mr. Ramakanth said that Vascular’s current stock price is below its book value of $2.01 a share and also below its cash value of $1.94 a share.

In addition, the company amended in August the ongoing Phase 3 OVAL study of VB-111 for the treatment of ovarian cancer to include an interim efficacy readout, which is expected to occur in the fourth quarter of 2019.

“Finally, since April the company has also made considerable progress in the development of the VB-600 program targeting motile sperm domain-containing protein 2 (MOSPD2) for the treatment of cancer and autoimmune diseases, including a presentation of promising preclinical results at the 2018 American Association for Cancer Research and European Committee for the Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis conferences,” he added.

“Taken together, we believe that the promising pipeline developments over the last six months, the weakness in the stock price, and the major clinical readout expected in 2019 has significantly increased the value proposition of Vascular Biogenics,” Mr. Ramakanth said.

Stephen Kilmer