SVB Leerink starts MannKind at OP: PT $3

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SVB Leerink initiated coverage of MannKind (NASDAQ:MNKD) with an “outperform” rating and a 12-month price target of $3. The stock closed at $1.77 on March 1.

Analyst Dr. Pasha Sarraf writes that his rating is based on the company’s recent strategic activities surrounding the relaunch of Afrezza, an inhaled insulin that he calls a best-in-class rapid acting insulin for postprandial glycemic control.

“We view MannKind as being in a do-or-die scenario hinging on their ability to turn around the Afrezza franchise and grow their less than 1% market share within the $6.3-billion rapid acting insulin market.”

Entering the relaunch of Afrezza, he said MannKind has an executive team that has established leadership stability within the company as well as top diabetes executives from big pharmaceutical companies and an experienced diabetes sales force.

He said the company has addressed a significant portion of its debt overhang, and is well positioned with $71.7-million in cash, which will enable the launch of a new strategic commercialization campaign.

“Our opinion of MannKind is bolstered by its recently announced licensing agreement with United Therapeutics, which validates MannKind’s inhaled delivery approach and indicates the upside potential in its growing pipeline,” he added.

Abby Hardy