Ladenburg starts Cellectar Biosciences at buy

Ladenburg Thalmann launched coverage of Cellectar Biosciences (NASDAQ:CLRB) with a “buy” rating and $2.70 price target. The stock closed at $1.24 on Dec. 20.

Cellectar is focused on development of phospholipid-ether-drug conjugates (PDCs), which can achieve targeted delivery of drug payloads or imaging agents to cancer cells, including cancer stem cells.

Analyst Wangzhi Li writes that Cellectar has developed a pipeline of PDC-radiotherapeutics, PDC-chemotherapeutics and PDC-imaging agents, and established a partnership with the multinational company, Pierre Fabre.

Cellectar is currently focused on developing its lead PDC-radiotherapeutic, CLR131 (PLE with I-131). CLR131 is in a Phase 1 dose escalation study in elapsed/refractory multiple myeloma (r/r MM), with Phase 2 initiation expected in the first quarter of 2017 in r/r MM and several additional hematologic cancers.

Mr. Li said the company also has PDC-Paclitaxel (similar to Abraxane in concept) and PDC-cytotoxin in preclinical studies. In addition, Cellectar has three PDC-imaging products ready for Phase 1/2 studies, which it is looking to license out.

“With a current market cap of about $14-million (basic plus preferred shares), Cellectar is thus traded around cash,” he said. “We recommend owning Cellectar to tap the undervalued upside potential for its PDC platform and pipeline and lead program, CLR131, with multiple data readout in 2017.”