HCW starts AnaptysBio at buy; PT $126

iStock-578291898.jpg

H.C. Wainwright initiated coverage of AnaptysBio (NASDAQ:ANAB) with a “buy” rating and price target of $126. The stock closed at $60.54 on Dec. 19.

While AnaptysBio has emerged as a newcomer in the competitive field of inflammatory diseases where large biopharmaceutical companies have a stronghold, “we think the company may differentiate itself with a double play of two wholly-owned assets (novel targets) and a proprietary antibody platform,” writes analyst Andrew Fein.

The company has two clinical-stage biologics, five ongoing clinical programs, two licensing partners, and an array of data readouts in the next 12-to-18 months.

Mr. Fein said AnaptysBio’s lead product, etokimab, is a humanized anti-interleukin-33 IgG1 monoclonal antibody that is currently positioned in three indications: moderate-to-severe atopic dermatitis (AD), severe eosinophilic asthma and adult chronic rhinosinusitis with nasal polyps.

“We think the value proposition for etokimab should be viewed in the context of a ‘pipeline in a drug,’ and could be framed by the combined market potential across atopic diseases for which etokimab shows therapeutic utility,” Mr. Fein said.

Based on the proof-of-concept studies, “we elect to focus on etokimab’s AD and asthma programs in our investment thesis,” he added. “In our view, the clinical risks for both programs are relatively low, given the role of IL-33 in atopic diseases, upstream activity of IL-33 to IL-4 and IL-5, and the early proof-of-concept results.”

Stephen Kilmer