Analysts start Vaccinex at buy; PTs $20 and $22

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Analysts at BTIG and Ladenburg Thalmann initiated coverage of Vaccinex (NASDAQ:VCNX) with “buy” ratings and price targets of $20 and $22, respectively. The stock closed at $9.99 on August 31.

Vaccinex, which went public in August, is evaluating semaphorin 4D blockade as a potential treatment for neurodegenerative diseases, cancer or autoimmune disorders. 

Lead product candidate, VX15, is a monoclonal antibody in development for the treatment of non-small cell lung cancer, osteosarcoma, melanoma, and Huntington’s disease. 

Thomas Shrader of BTIG writes that in Huntington’s disease patients, VX15 “inhibits the inflammation that appears to cause much of the disease’s damage.” A potentially pivotal Phase 2 trial with VX15 is ongoing in Huntington’s. 

In cancer patients, he said VX15 has demonstrated an “ability to turn cold tumors hot,” by reducing the effects of immunosuppressive cells from the tumor microenvironment. A confirmatory trial is ongoing in non-small cell lung cancer. 

Matthew Kaplan of Ladenburg notes that Vaccinex has developed multiple proprietary platform technologies and the company is “developing product candidates to address serious diseases or conditions that have a substantial impact on day-to-day functioning and for which treatment is not addressed adequately by available therapies.”

Stephen Kilmer