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Pluristem Therapeutics, Rexahn Pharma Are Biotech Winners, B Riley FBR Says In Bullish Initiation

Elizabeth Balboa

With hundreds of biotech stocks all assuring big prospects, building a portfolio of truly transformative medicine makers is a feat. B. Riley FBR said it's found two winners. 

The Analyst

Analyst George Zavoico initiated coverage of Pluristem Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ: PSTI) and Rexahn Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NYSE: RNN) with Buy ratings and respective price targets of $4.50 and $7.50.

The Pluristem Thesis

B. Riley's Pluristem bullishness is predicated on “a unique regenerative medicine platform technology, a wholly owned state-of-the-art manufacturing facility and two differentiated cell therapy product candidates in clinical development for five indications," Zavoico said in the initiation note. (See the analyst's track record here.) 

The candidates, PLX-PAD cells, target conditions for which there are no “satisfactory” treatment alternatives. B. Riley has high hopes.

“In our view, the results of preclinical studies and earlier-stage clinical trials provide evidence of efficacy and safety,” Zavoico said. “If confirmed in later-stage trials, these products could become the next standards of care.”

The near-term completion of two Phase 3 PLX-PAD trials, the potential filing of Biologics License Applications in 2020 and 2021 and the potential fourth-quarter launch of a pivotal trial for PLX-R18 could drive additional value, the analyst said. 

The Rexahn Thesis

Zavoico considers Rexhan’s oncological platform — including RX-3117 for metastatic pancreatic cancer and supinoxin for triple negative breast cancer — differentiated from standard alternatives with “unsatisfactory” safety and efficacy profiles.

“With positive preclinical and early clinical proof-of-concept results showing RX-3117 and supinoxin to be well-tolerated with early evidence of efficacy, we view these drug candidates as having the potential to provide patients with a superior treatment option for difficult-to-treat cancers,” the analyst said. 

B. Riley forecast a commercial launch of RX-3117 in 2022 in a combination therapy with Abraxane. Supinoxin is seen to follow in 2024 in combination with a checkpoint inhibitor. The two drugs are in Phase 2a trials.

To fund their advancements, Rexhan is expected to raise capital in the fourth quarter after presenting interim RX-3117 data and top-line supinoxin data, Zavoico said. 

Price Action

Pluristem shares were trading up 1.63 percent at $1.25 at the time of publication Tuesday; Rexahn shares were up 10.87 percent at $1.53. 

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Latest Ratings for PSTI

Date Firm Action From To
Jul 2018 B. Riley FBR Initiates Coverage On Buy
Oct 2017 Seaport Global Initiates Coverage On Buy
Jun 2017 Maxim Group Upgrades Hold Buy

View More Analyst Ratings for PSTI
View the Latest Analyst Ratings

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