Roth starts AzurRx BioPharma at buy; PT $10.50

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Roth Capital Partners launched coverage of AzurRx BioPharma (NASDAQ:AZRX) with a “buy” rating and price target of $10.50. The stock closed at $2.25 on Jan. 25.

AzurRx is developing non-systemic, recombinant enzyme therapies for gastrointestinal disorders. The company’s lead product is MS1819, a recombinant lipase for the treatment of exocrine pancreatic insufficiency (EPI). MS1819 is currently in a Phase 2 trial for cystic fibrosis patients with EPI. Initial data from the trial are expected in the first half of 2019.

The Phase 2 trial is sanctioned by the Cystic Fibrosis Therapeutics Development Network. “MS1819 has numerous potential advantages over currently approved treatments, including reduced pill burden, and the fact that it is not derived from an animal source,” writes analyst Jerry Isaacson.

AzurRx also is developing AZX1103, an orally available enzyme designed to degrade beta-lactam antibiotics in the stomach.

Mr. Isaacson said that when patients are treated with IV antibiotics, some of the drug enters the digestive tract where it attacks the microbiome and can lead to the proliferation of bacteria such as Clostridium difficile. “By protecting the microbiome, AZX1103 can prevent hospital-acquired infections and antibiotic-associated diarrhea,” he added.

Stephen Kilmer