HCW starts Cidara Therapeutics at buy

H.C. Wainwright launched coverage of Cidara Therapeutics (NASDAQ:CDTX) with a “buy” rating and $25 price target. The stock closed at $10.80 on Dec. 16.

Cidara's lead drug, CD101 IV, is a novel molecule in the echinocandin class of antifungals in Phase 2 development for the treatment and prevention of serious Candida infections.

Analyst Ed Arce writes that in the U.S., Candida is the leading cause of hospital-acquired bloodstream infections (BSIs), with a mortality rate of up to 47%. Although echinocandins are the preferred first-line therapy, their use is limited primarily to the hospital, because they are only available as a daily IV infusion.

When patients are well enough to be discharged, they are frequently placed on an oral azole drug to complete their therapy at home. Although the azoles are generally considered inferior to echinocandins for most BSIs, their widespread use generates over double the annual sales, compared with echinocandins, largely because the availability of an oral step-down option allows for shorter and less costly hospital stays.

Given this backdrop, Mr. Arce said CD101 may become the leading treatment for serious Candida infections, including capturing substantial market share from azoles, due to its key differentiating factor: a unique pharmacokinetics profile with an 80-hour half-life, and a higher and earlier drug exposure that persists longer.

“This defining characteristic is crucial, as it allows CD101 to offer a full course of treatment in just two IV infusions, one week apart (first inpatient, second outpatient),” he added.