Leerink starts Crinetics Pharma at OP; PT $43

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Leerink launched coverage of Crinetics Pharma (NASDAQ:CRNX) with an “outperform” rating and a $43 price target. The stock closed at $30.68 on August 10.

Crinetics is building a rare disease franchise in endocrinology. “We view the company's pipeline of oral, non-peptide drug candidates, targeting G protein-coupled receptors, positively,” writes analyst Joseph Schwartz. 

"While peptide-based drugs have traditionally been safe and effective, Crinetics strategically aims to take advantage of their shortfalls by developing a convenient daily, oral, non-peptide formulation with the potential to improve tolerability and efficacy that may translate into significant market penetration and expansion,” he added. 

“We are especially encouraged by the experienced management team leading the programs that leverage their chemistry and biology expertise in three indications, where peptide somatostatin (SST) analogs are either approved (CRN808 and CRN1941) or used off-label (CRN2481),” Mr. Schwartz said.

The company’s lead program, CRN808, is an oral, somatostatin receptor 2   (SST2) agonist aiming to treat acromegaly by inhibiting growth hormone (GH) and lowering insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) levels. 

So far, Mr. Schwartz said the company has demonstrated encouraging Phase 1 results, with safety consistent with approved SST analogs, dose-dependent pharmacokinetics/pharmacodynamics, and dose-dependent decreases of GH and IGF-1 levels, which “we believe de-risk the program and bode well for later stage development,” he added.

Stephen Kilmer