After passing one speed bump, is the market heading towards more bumps in the road? Following the September sell-off, there has been a surge in COVID-19 cases and limited progress on the next stimulus package. In addition, the likelihood of a Biden victory in the November elections increased.
At the same time, however, the broader market has been ramping up, with the NYSE Cumulative Advance/Decline line reaching a record high and the percentage of SPX components trading above their 10-day moving averages landing at 93% for the first time since early April.
Weighing in for Canaccord, strategist Tony Dwyer commented, “The strength of the broad market driven by the economy recovery beneficiaries has been dramatic, and while we believe the market should remain volatile (in both directions) into year end, our positive fundamental core thesis driven by excess liquidity and a synchronized global recovery suggests inevitable periods of weakness following these type ramps should be used as an opportunity to add equity exposure.”
Turning Dwyer’s outlook into concrete recommendations, Canaccord’s analysts have pinpointed three stocks that could soar in the year ahead, with over 100% upside potential forecasted for each. What’s more, after using TipRanks’ database, we found out that all three have scored enough positive reviews from the broader analyst community to earn a “Strong Buy” consensus rating.
Zynerba Pharmaceuticals (ZYNE)
Developing next-generation transdermally-delivered cannabinoid therapeutics, Zynerba Pharmaceuticals wants to help improve the lives of patients with rare and near-rare neuropsychiatric conditions. With shares changing hands for $3.65, Canaccord believes that the share price presents an attractive entry point.
This summer, ZYNE revealed that in the CONNECT-FX pivotal trial evaluating Zygel, its transdermal cannabidiol gel, in Fragile X syndrome (FXS), the therapy did not achieve statistical significance on its primary or secondary endpoints in the full analysis set, or 210 patients. That being said, it did demonstrate significance on the primary endpoint in patients with full methylation of the FMR1 gene, which was an ad-hoc pre-planned analysis, and secondary endpoints were promising.
Of the patients in the trial, 80% had full methylation, and the company estimates 60% of the 71,000 U.S. FXS patients fall into this category. To this end, ZYNE will meet with the FDA to discuss the next steps for potential approval in this indication, likely in 2H20.
Writing for Canaccord, 5-star analyst Sumant Kulkarni believes that “the key to ZYNE stock lies in the outcome of the company's interactions with the FDA on its clinical programs for Zygel... It is always difficult to second-guess what the agency might do, but a ‘good’ outcome would involve ZYNE being potentially able to file Zygel for approval in fully-methylated FXS patients. Given there are no products approved for FXS, such an outcome, with perhaps a confirmatory trial to be run, cannot be ruled out.”
Given this result, Kulkarni argues ZYNE will now target the fully-methylated FXS patients. With the analyst seeing the targeting of this subgroup as “the best way forward for its FXS program,” he continues to model a 50% probability of approval for Zygel in FXS.
Additionally, ZYNE is expected to report results from its discussions with the FDA on the path forward for Zygel in developmental and epileptic encephalopathies (DEE) in Q3 2020, and meet with the FDA on its program in autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in 2H20. Therefore, “there could be opportunity for risk-tolerant investors ahead of news on the outcome of FDA interactions,” in Kulkarni’s opinion.
With new posters released yesterday, supporting Zygel in Fragile X and Autism, Kulkarni stays with the bulls. To this end, the top analyst rates ZYNE a Buy along with a $12 price target. Investors could be pocketing a gain of 215%, should this target be met. (To watch Kulkarni’s track record, click here)
Turning to the rest of the Street, the bulls have it on this one. With 3 Buys and a lone Hold, the word on the Street is that ZYNE is a Strong Buy. At $13, the average price target implies 245% upside potential. (See ZYNE stock analysis on TipRanks)
Bringing a deep understanding of the human immune response to the table, Atreca develops innovative immunotherapies. Ahead of a key data readout, Canaccord is pounding the table on this healthcare play.
Representing the firm, 5-star analyst John Newman has high hopes for ATRC-101, its product that targets a differentiated intracellular protein, PolyAdenylate Binding Protein (PABP-1) which is restricted to tumor tissues.
According to the analyst, this suggests ATRC-101 “will have a favorable safety profile and will not affect healthy tissues.” He added, “Importantly, ATRC-101 can be clinically impactful in a number of tumor types including: lung, breast, ovarian, colon, skin, and liver cancers, which comprise a large market opportunity.”
Further speaking to the candidate’s potential, ATRC-101's cutting-edge mechanism of action (MOA) involves both innate response through binding of tumor tissues, and adaptive response via delivering tumor associated antigens to macrophages and dendritic cells. The dendritic cells are then stimulated, releasing chemokines, cytokines and promoting a CD8+ T-cell response, which kills tumor cells. The company has already published data to support the MOA, which is helpful to better “understand the underpinnings of the drug's efficacy,” in Newman’s opinion.
As screening is underway in the ATRC-101 monotherapy study, and patients are currently being enrolled in the second cohort dose, Newman expects initial safety data to come by YE20 and early 2021, respectively. “With the second cohort dose starting and first cohort dose showing promising preclinical results, we look forward to progression of the cohort doses and eventually initiating the third cohort dose,” he noted.
On top of this, Newman is optimistic about the trial evaluating ATRC-101 in combination with PD-1 inhibitor and chemotherapeutic agents, which is slated to kick off in 2021. “Chemotherapy has shown to induce the target of ATRC-101, which could lead to positive outcomes. Chemotherapy can also increase ATRC-101's target expression, promote antigen release, and can allow earlier use of ATRC-101 in treatment paradigms,” he explained.
Everything that BCEL has going for it convinced Newman to reiterate his Buy rating. In addition to the call, he left the price target at $33, suggesting 120% upside potential. (To watch Newman’s track record, click here)
All in all, other analysts are on the same page. 3 Buys and no Holds or Sells add up to a Strong Buy consensus rating. With an average price target of $28.67, the upside potential comes in at 91%. (See BCEL stock analysis on TipRanks)
Cara Therapeutics (CARA)
Hoping to provide solutions for those suffering from chronic pruritus, Cara Therapeutics develops peripherally acting kappa opioid agonist therapeutics. Following an update on the company’s development candidates, Canaccord sees a compelling opportunity.
Firm analyst Arlinda Lee tells clients that she recently spoke with CARA President and CEO Dr. Derek Chalmers, and he provided upbeat commentary on lead candidate Korsuva, a kappa opioid receptor agonist designed for moderate to severe pruritus.
One of the analyst’s key takeaways was that oral Korsuva has the potential for a broad label in chronic atopic dermatitis (AD - eczema or itchy skin). AD affects roughly 20 million people in the U.S., and it is a complex disease, with the mechanisms of pruritus still being studied. Dr. Chalmers argues that Korsuva's MOA is agnostic to the type and level of cytokine release in the skin as kappa opioid receptor agonists work downstream of cytokine interaction, and cytokine release is also inhibited.
It should be noted that regardless of pathology, the incidence of pruritus in AD is 100%, with approximately 20% classified as moderate to severe. For the 80% of patients with mild to moderate itch, biologics and immunosuppressants are not appropriate. “With its benign safety profile, oral Korsuva may be well-positioned to serve this patient segment with a frontline systemic treatment,” Lee commented. Therefore, she believes the release of Phase 2 oral Korsuva AD data in 2021 could drive serious upside.
In the Phase 2 trial evaluating oral Korsuva for chronic kidney disease associated pruritus (CKD-aP) in non-hemodialysis patients, there was a 50% placebo response, but two factors could have caused this. Earlier stage CKD patients have intermittent pruritus, so they are more susceptible to placebo response. Additionally, CARA used sites and investigators that had experience with IV Korsuva and expectation bias may have been transferred to non-hemodialysis patients, according to Dr. Chalmers. “CARA can mitigate these by utilizing a longer run-in period for more consistent patients; using de novo sites to eliminate expectation bias; and employing 1:1 randomization,” Lee mentioned.
If that wasn’t enough, the IV Korsuva NDA filing for CKD-aP is expected in Q4 2020. Lee thinks the chances of an FDA AdCom are low, based on its robust safety profile and number of New Chemical Entities recently approved without an AdCom. IV Korsuva might not be classified as a scheduled controlled substance, given that it lacks traditional opioid side effects and acts in the periphery, not the central nervous system (CNS).
Taking the above into consideration, Lee maintains a Buy rating and $30 price target. This target conveys her confidence in CARA’s ability to climb 124% higher in the next year. (To watch Lee’s track record, click here)
Are other analysts in agreement? They are. Only Buy ratings have been issued in the last three months. Therefore, the consensus is unanimous: CARA is a Strong Buy. Given the $32.67 average price target, shares could climb 118.5% in the next year. (See Cara stock analysis on TipRanks)
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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the featured analysts. The content is intended to be used for informational purposes only. It is very important to do your own analysis before making any investment.
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