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Recent Assembly Biosciences Weakness Provides Attractive Entry Point, B Riley FBR Says In Upgrade

Shanthi Rexaline

Assembly Biosciences Inc (NASDAQ: ASMB) shares have shed over one-fourth of their value since late September, creating an opportunity to buy the dip, B. Riley FBR said Monday. 

The Analyst

Analyst Madhu Kumar upgraded shares of Assembly Biosciences from Neutral to Buy and reiterated a $42 price target.

The Thesis

The rationale for targeting the Hepatitis B virus' core protein as a multipronged means of disrupting the HBV lifecycle is intriguing, Kumar said in the Monday upgrade note. (See the analyst's track record here.)  

Hepatitis B is a life-threatening liver infection.

In the absence of support for HBV biomarker suppression, Assembly's valuation provides a barrier to optimism on the shares, the analyst said. With the 28-percent decline in the shares since Sept. 28, an effective entry point has been established for investors, he said. 

Upcoming HBV core inhibitor Phase 2a from HEC Pharma could provide clinical proof-of-concept for viral biomarker suppression, Kumar said. The data is to be presented at the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases 2018 meeting in San Francisco Nov. 9-13. 

"Beyond AASLD, Phase IIa data for ASMB's lead asset ABI-H0731, guided for [the first half of 2019], could serve as an additional positive catalyst for ASMB shares," the analyst said. 

The Price Action

Assembly Biosciences shares have shed 41 percent since the start of the year. The stock was down 2.33 percent at $26.03 at the time of publication Monday. 

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Latest Ratings for ASMB

Date Firm Action From To
Oct 2018 B. Riley FBR Upgrades Neutral Buy
Aug 2018 Baird Initiates Coverage On Outperform
May 2018 B. Riley FBR Maintains Neutral Neutral

View More Analyst Ratings for ASMB
View the Latest Analyst Ratings

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