Mackie ups Bellus Health PT to $2.20 from $1

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Mackie Research raised its price target for Bellus Health (TSX:BLU) to $2.20 from $1 after the company reported Phase 1 top-line results of BLU-5937 for the treatment of chronic cough.

In the study, BLU-5937 demonstrated a good safety and tolerability profile within the anticipated therapeutic doses from 50mg to 100mg twice a day. In addition, only one-of-24 subjects (4.2%) on this dose range reported taste alteration, which was “much better than the taste profile of Merck’s MK-7264 in its Phase 2b study,” writes analyst Andre Uddin.

Mr. Uddin said the strong Phase 1 safety results indicate that BLU-5937 has “much higher selectivity toward [the] P2X3 [receptor] than MK-7264, which should help Bellus forge a licensing deal earlier than we expect.” The company also could be acquired, he added.

A Phase 2 study with BLU-5937 is expected to begin in mid-2019 with 50 chronic cough patients, with results expected in mid-2020.

Abby Hardy