AGP starts OpGen at buy: PT $2.30

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AGP/Alliance Global Partners launched coverage of OpGen (NASDAQ:OPGN) with a “buy” rating and price target of $2.30. The stock closed at $1.48 on March 1.

“OpGen's approach to antibiotic resistance identification is highly differentiated from conventional microbiology methods as well as those of other firms presently providing molecular diagnostics solutions,” writes analyst Ben Haynor.

He said OpGen's Acuitas AMR panel and prediction software for complex urinary tract infections can produce antibiotic resistance data for 12-to-17 antibiotics, depending on species, directly from a patient’s urine sample in 2.5 hours, instead of the more than 2.5 days necessary for the conventional microbiology infection and antibiotic susceptibility testing (ID/AST) approach.

In developing the Acuitas platform over the past several years, Mr. Haynor said OpGen has leveraged its partnership with Merck, utilizing Merck's SMART database of more than 250,000 bacterial isolates and whole genome sequencing, along with machine learning, to construct 41 prediction algorithms, which depending on the species of bacteria, can show a 90%-plus agreement with conventional AST.

Mr. Haynor said the Acuitas panel and prediction software would be the subject of three 510(k) submissions to the FDA this year, beginning in March.

Stephen Kilmer