HCW ups Dicerna Pharma to buy; PT $21

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H.C. Wainwright upgraded Dicerna Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:DRNA) to “buy” from “neutral” and raised its price target to $21 from $14, citing broad progress across the company’s pipeline. The stock closed at $14.82 on August 14.

Dicerna is developing a pipeline of RNAi therapies for the treatment of diseases involving the liver, including rare diseases; viral infectious diseases; chronic liver diseases; and cardiovascular diseases.

Analyst Ed Arce writes that lead drug, DCR-PHXC, is expected to release interim Phase 1 data towards the end of the third quarter of 2018. 

“We believe, based on the novel RNAi mechanism and published preclinical data around the drug’s impact on its genetic target (LDHA), that the results expected soon (time to maximum RNAi effects [perhaps four-to-six weeks]; and quantitative reductions of oxalate achieved [complete suppression or nearly so]) are very likely to be positive, driving the shares significantly higher as the first clinical stage data catalyst,” he said. 

This data is from Group B of the PHYOX study, which is in subjects with primary hyperoxaluria (PH1 and PH2), so “we view this data as analogous to a Phase 2a in terms of the predictive power on efficacy (Group A was in healthy volunteers),” he added.

Mr. Arce said Dicerna’s second program, DCR-HBVS,targets treatment of chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV), with an IND filing guided to occur in the fourth quarter of 2018, and the initiation of clinical trials soon after the end of 2018.

In addition, he said that like with HBV, Dicerna has several other RNAi programs in the pre-IND stage, “targeting large commercial opportunities that we believe would be attractive to larger potential partners.”

Stephen Kilmer