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Arrowhead Hits the Bullseye in Phase 2 Study of ARO-AAT; Analyst Targets Over 90% Upside

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Wednesday was a good day for investors of biotech Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals (ARWR). Shares took off to the tune of 40% following the release of positive trial data.

In the Phase 2 open-label trial (AROAAT2002) assessing ARO-AAT for the rare genetic liver disease associated with alpha one antitrypsin deficiency (AATD), the treatment displayed convincing proof of a significant pharmacodynamic effect on AATD patients resulting in improvements in relevant biomarkers  following 24 weeks of treatment.

For H.C. Wainwright analyst Patrick Trucchio, the results are the latest addition to a pipeline “firing on all cylinders.”

The previous several weeks have seen positive updates on several noteworthy programs including ARO-APOC3 for high triglycerides (HTG), ARO-ANG3 for mixed dyslipidemia, and from JNJ-3989, Arrowhead’s collaboration with Janssen on a treatment for chronic hepatitis B virus (CHB) infection. The rest of 2020 looks promising too, with the anticipation of further data readouts from the pipeline.

In fact, the analyst counts Arrowhead as one of the investment firm’s “favorite picks” and continues to believe “ARO-AAT is likely to emerge as the first therapeutic for the liver disease phenotype of AATD.”

Expanding on this, Trucchio said, “We think the very positive outcome in the Phase 2 open-label trial  could drive increased enthusiasm among the alpha one community including patients, accelerating Arrowhead’s program; moreover, we think Arrowhead could seek to accelerate the program through discussions with the FDA, with Breakthrough Therapy designation among the possibilities... Eventually, we think the Street’s attention could shift to the cardio-metabolic programs, particularly ARO-APOC3 and AROANG3 as these programs continue to generate data at appropriate venues in 2H20 and advance in development.”

Overall, Trucchio gives ARO-AAT a 60% possibility of success. The full data set should get an airing at the AASLD (American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases) meeting in November.

Accordingly, Trucchio keeps a Buy rating on ARWR shares along with a $90 price target. Even after Wednesday’s surge, there remains strong upside of 97%, should Trucchio’s thesis play out over the coming months. (To watch Trucchio’s track record, click here)

Barring one analyst who has a Hold on ARWR shares, all 5 others to have posted a review over the last 3 months, recommend the stock a Buy. While not quite as bullish as the H.C. Wainwright's forecast, the $69 average price target could still yield returns of 51% in the year ahead. (See ARWR stock analysis on TipRanks)

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the featured analyst. The content is intended to be used for informational purposes only. It is very important to do your own analysis before making any investment.