Over the past few months, Tekmira Pharmaceuticals Corporation (NASDAQ:TKMR) stock has been tied to the deadly Ebola epidemic, which has killed more than 4,000 people. And the World Health Organization has warned that the number of new Ebola cases could rise to 10,000 a week. Tekmira’s Ebola candidate, TKM-Ebola holds significant potential. But Clarus Securities analyst David Novak said in a research note that Tekmira holds value on multiple assets, not just Ebola.
Tekmira’s Ebola drug is pretty easy to produce
After speaking to Tekmira management, Clarus has raised its price target from $22.50 to $40 with a Buy rating. TKM-Ebola has been used compassionately to treat several patients. The medicine has been tolerated in all cases. Safety data from compassionate use will help the company in completing its response to the FDA about the partial clinical hold. Clarus expects the hold to be lifted by the end of this quarter.
Recently, TKM-Ebola was also selected as a potential candidate for clinical trials in West Africa. Novak says the clinical trial will likely comprise of 30-40 patients. Tekmira can manufacture new doses for the trial in less than two months. Manufacturing capability is another strength of Tekmira. Synthetic oligonucleotides are very easy to produce. The company’s CMC facility along with contract manufacturers can easily produce the drug in case it needs to initiate large scale manufacturing.
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Tekmira could disrupt the HBV treatment landscape
Moreover, the tolerated use of Tekmira’s Lipid Nanoparticle (LNP) technology to deliver drugs in Ebola patients will reduce the risk for transition of TKM-HBV from pre-clinical to clinical trials. Yes, Tekmira is also developing an effective treatment for Hepatitis B virus. Clarus says Hepatitis B is a “blockbuster market opportunity.” About 350 million people around the world are still chronically infected by Hepatitis B. These infected people become carriers of the virus.
The research firm advised investors to start looking closely at TKM-HBV. Tekmira will unveil pre-clinical data package of its Hepatitis B candidate at the OTS Conference on October 15.The company’s RNAi approach has the potential to disrupt the HBV treatment landscape, says Novak. Tekmira’s candidate inhibits viral protein production as well as viral replication.
Tekmira shares jumped 2.97% to $24.30 at 11:08 AM EDT on Wednesday.