HCW starts Autolus Therapeutics at buy; PT $45

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H.C. Wainwright initiated coverage of Autolus Therapeutics (NASDAQ:AUTL) with a “buy” rating and $45 price target. The stock closed at $30.64 on Oct. 23.

Autolus is a UK-based, oncology-focused, autologous cell therapy company developing a slew of potentially differentiated chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T- cell products directed at B-and T-cell hematologic malignancies as well as solid tumors.

Analyst Debjit Chattopadhyay writes that Autolus' broad suite of CAR T-cell therapies include AUTO1 (anti CD-19); AUTO2 (bi-specific CAR T targeting BCMA and TACI); AUTO3 (bi-specific CAR T directed against CD-19 and CD-22); AUTO4 and AUTO5 (TRBC1 and TRCB2, respectively), and AUTO6 NG (GD2 targeting neuroblastoma and other solid tumors).

Of these, AUTO1 to 3 are in the clinic, with AUTO4 to 6 expected to begin human trials over the near term, he added. “From our perch, Autolus provides a plethora [of] differentiated options for investors.”

In addition, he said Autolus is currently trading at a market capitalization of about $1.2-billion, which is at a significant discount to the $2.7-billion market capitalization that the Street is valuing peer, Allogene, which has a limited pipeline “as we see it” of allogenic CAR T therapies.

“With a slew of data releases between ASH 2018 and ASH 2019, we expect a potential convergence in valuation,” Mr. Chattopadhyay added.

Stephen Kilmer