Analysts cut AC Immune PT after crenezumab trials discontinued

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Analyst at Leerink and H.C. Wainwright lowered their price targets for AC Immune (NASDAQ:ACIU) after the company’s partner, Roche/Genentech, discontinued the Phase 3 CREAD 1 and 2 trials of crenezumab for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease (AD).

“This is clearly a disappointment for the company and the broader Alzheimer’s community and another hit to the amyloid thesis,” writes analyst Marc Goodman, who cut his price target to $11 from $18, but maintained his “outperform” rating. The stock closed at $3.98 on Feb. 1.

“However, we are not making any changes to [AC’s] other programs, given a diversified pipeline and strong partnerships,” he added.

The Phase 3 studies of crenezumab were discontinued based on an interim analysis by a data monitoring committee, which indicated that crenezumab is unlikely to meet its primary efficacy endpoint. No safety signals for crenezumab were observed in the analysis and the overall safety profile was similar to that seen in previous trials.

Analyst Andrew Fein of HCW cut his price target to $8 from $18, but reiterated his “buy” rating.

“Despite our conversations with management last Friday, we still have limited visibility into the data beyond what was communicated by Roche (futility analysis shows that crenezumab was unlikely to hit the primary endpoint of change from baseline in clinical dementia rating-sum of boxes),” he said. “We think it is too early to draw any broad-brush conclusions in the absence of further color.”

Mr. Fein said that despite the setback, the company “possesses one of the deepest pipelines in the neurodegenerative space.”

Among other things, he said ACI-24 for the treatment of AD in Down syndrome patients is on track to yield results in a high dose cohort in the first half of 2019 and could potentially move quickly into a Phase 2 study.

Stephen Kilmer