Ladenburg starts Ovid Therapeutics at buy; PT $27

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Ladenburg Thalmann initiated coverage of Ovid Therapeutics (NASDAQ:OVID) with a “buy” rating and $27 price target. The stock closed at $10.14 on April 19.

Ovid is developing two clinical-stage candidates: OV101, a GABA agonist, for the genetic neurological disorders, Angelman (AS) and Fragile X syndromes; and OV935, an inhibitor of cholesterol degradation, for developmental and epileptic encephalopathies (DEEs), including Dravet, Lennox-Gastaut and Tuberous Sclerosis Complex.

“In our view, Ovid is differentiated from other neuroscience biopharmaceuticals by the specificity and innovativeness of its approaches, which we believe can make a difference in these treatment-resistant orphan indications and perhaps also find broader applicability,” writes analyst Michael Higgins.

Results from ongoing trials including, a Phase 2 with OV101 in AS and a Phase 1b/2a with OV935 in DEEs, are expected in third quarter and second half of 2018, respectively.

While there are multiple drugs that can modulate excitatory or inhibitory signals in the brain, Mr. Higgins said specificity is usually lacking, leading to unwanted side effects and poor efficacy.

“We believe Ovid’s candidates could improve upon this paradigm via its innovative and more specific targeting of synaptic signaling between neurons,” he added.