WB starts Acer Therapeutics at OP; fair value $47

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William Blair launched coverage of Acer Therapeutics (NASDAQ:ACER) with an "outperform" rating and fair value estimate of $47. The stock closed at $17 on Feb. 15.

Acer is developing two late-stage clinical assets, the most important of which is Edsivo for the treatment of vascular Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (vEDS), a rare hereditary condition of the vascular con┬Čnective tissue that leads to increased risk of vascular rupture and death.

Acer also is developing ACER-001, a taste-masked, immediate-release formulation of sodium phenylbutyrate for the treatment of urea cycle disorders (UCDs) and maple syrup urine disease, two rare metabolic disorders.

Analyst Tim Lugo writes that Edsivo is currently available only in Europe and Acer plans to bring the therapy to the U.S. through a NDA to be filed in mid-2018.

"While Edsivo was originally developed as a beta-blocker, from our discussions with vEDS experts, the product holds a unique mechanism of action that combines improved hemodynamic stability and strengthening of arterial walls, which ultimately reduces the risk of arterial rupture and other cardiovascular events common in vEDS," he added.

Acer also intends to bring ACER-001 to the roughly $200-million UCD market in 2021, following a bioequivalence study that is set to begin in 2019.

"With the Edsivo NDA to be filed by mid-2018, we anticipate Acer moving from an overlooked small-cap development-stage company to an attractive fully commercialized organization over the next year," Mr. Lugo said.