Maxim starts Zynerba Pharma at buy

Maxim Group initiated coverage of Zynerba Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:ZYNE) with a “buy” rating and 12-month price target of $32. The stock closed at $22.10 on Feb. 23.

Analyst Lauren Chung writes that 2017 could be a transformational year for Zynerba, as three ongoing Phase 2 trials for lead cannabis-based candidate, ZYN002 cannabidiol (CBD) gel, are expected to report data in epilepsy, osteoarthritis, and Fragile X syndrome.

“We view CBD drugs as de-risked therapeutics based on the validation of CBD in epilepsy, as demonstrated by GW Pharma’s Epidiolex,” she said. “Zynerba’s ZYN002 is targeting the much larger refractory focal seizure epilepsy population, and has a larger commercial opportunity,” she added.

Ms. Chung said ZYN002 as a transdermal patch is differentiated and has important benefits over oral administration by bypassing first-pass liver metabolism (important for drug- drug interactions) and providing three times the bioavailability, stable plasma concentrations, and avoiding GI and CNS side effects, such as somnolence and fatigue.

In addition, she said Zynerba has ZYN001, a THC pro-drug patch, for fibromyalgia and peripheral neuropathic pain in Phase 1 trials.