WB ups Vital Therapies to OP and FVE to $35 from $10

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William Blair upgraded Vital Therapies (NASDAQ:VTL) to “outperform” from “market perform” and raised its fair value estimate to $35 from $10 ahead of top-line data from a pivotal study expected in September. The stock closed at $8.10 on Aug. 3.

Analyst Katherine Xu writes the VTL-308 study of ELAD (extracorporeal liver-assist device) versus standard-of-care in severe acute alcoholic hepatitis (sAAH) is expected to be a “key binary event” for Vital’s shares and for the acute liver failure field.

She raised her probability of success of VTL-308 to 70% from 55% and also raised her global peak sales estimate to $1.5-billion from $850-million for ELAD.

Currently, there are no treatment options that provide a survival benefit in this indication and there is no competition in the clinic addressing this population, she added.

“VTL-308's primary endpoint is overall survival, and should the study be successful, it is highly likely that ELAD becomes the standard of care for this population of patients over time,” Ms. Xu said. 

Stephen Kilmer