So far, September has been a wild ride of ups and downs. Following the recent bout of volatility, stocks have ticked higher again. But as uncertainty regarding another rescue program and the presidential election continues to linger, where does the market go from here?
Weighing in for Oppenheimer, Chief Investment Strategist John Stoltzfus argues that any market dips appear “relatively contained and orderly,” and present longer-term investors the chance to find “babies that got thrown out with the bathwater.” He noted, “For nervous investors the recent downdraft has presented opportunity to take some profits without FOMO (fear of missing out).”
As for the tech heavyweights that powered the market’s five-month charge forward, the strategist believes “current expectations that technology stocks will remain under pressure for some time seem exaggerated.” Stoltzfus adds that the “core of technology stocks did not appear terribly rich in price considering that developments in technology and innovation have yet to show signs of plateauing in the current cycle.”
Taking Stoltzfus’ outlook into consideration, our focus turned to stocks that Oppenheimer analysts are bullish on. The firm's pros see triple-digit upside potential in store for three tickers in particular. Running the names through TipRanks’ database, we wanted to find out what makes each so compelling.
MediWound Ltd. (MDWD)
Developing cutting-edge products, MediWound wants to address unmet needs in the fields of severe burn and chronic wound management. With an important government contract secured, Oppenheimer has high hopes for this name.
Back in January, MDWD announced that the U.S. Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) had entered into a contract to procure $16.5 million of NexoBrid, its drug designed to remove eschar in adults with deep partial and full-thickness thermal burns (a process called debridement), for an emergency stockpile. According to management, the first delivery is set for Q3 2020.
On top of this, the company filed the NexoBrid Biologics License Application (BLA) with the FDA for eschar removal in adults with deep partial-thickness and full-thickness thermal burns in June. MDWD’s U.S. commercial partner, Vericel, is preparing for an immediate launch upon approval.
Representing Oppenheimer, 5-star analyst Kevin DeGeeter points out that “Given the filing involved participation from three parties—MDWD, U.S. commercial partner Vericel and funding partners at BARDA—and was completed against the backdrop of public sector work-from-home mandates, we view meeting stated timelines as a material milestone and derisking event for MDWD shares... we believe NexoBrid is on track for 1H21 launch.”
Should the therapy ultimately be approved, MDWD is entitled to a $7.5 million milestone payment from Vericel. “We believe the combination of existing cash and the $7.5 million milestone payment from VCEL upon NexoBrid approval should fund operations at least into 2H23,” DeGeeter added.
DeGeeter also points out that MDWD plans to open 25-30 sites in U.S. and Israel to support the Phase 2 study of EscharEx, its product for chronic wounds. Although COVID-19 resulted in a delay, the analyst thinks “the current timeline of 1H21 is achievable.”
To this end, DeGeeter rates MDWD an Outperform along with a $7 price target. Should his thesis play out, a potential twelve-month gain of 117% could be in the cards. (To watch DeGeeter’s track record, click here)
All in all, other analysts echo DeGeeter’s sentiment. 4 Buys and no Holds or Sells add up to a Strong Buy consensus rating. With an average price target of $6.63, the upside potential comes in at 106%. (See MDWD stock analysis on TipRanks)
UroGen Pharma (URGN)
Primarily focused on uro-oncology, UroGen Pharma develops advanced non-surgical treatments to improve the lives of patients. As the launch of one of its products is progressing well, Oppenheimer thinks that now is the time to get on board.
Writing for the firm, analyst Leland Gershell points to UGN-101 as a key component of his bullish thesis. UGN-101, which has now been formally launched in the U.S. under the commercial name Jelmyto, was designed as a treatment for low-grade upper tract urothelial carcinoma (LG UTUC). The analyst highlights that Jelmyto’s launch is already off to a solid start, as eight patients had received 20 doses of the drug in June.
“Jelmyto sales were $371,000 in its first month of launch, but more important was management's commentary that over 100 urology practice sites are treatment-ready for the product, and that patient demand has not been visibly impacted by COVID-19,” Gershell explained.
Adding to the good news, permanent C- and J-codes, which are expected in October and January 2021, respectively, could bolster sales, in Gershell’s opinion. The label could also be updated to reflect completed OLYMPUS data.
It should be noted that patient and physician engagement could remain diminished through YE20, and restrictions around elective surgeries could persist, according to Gershell. That said, he argues that “LG UTUC's lack of surgical urgency could imply treatment deferral for several months, whereas Jelmyto's ability to be administered in an outpatient setting could expedite treatment, favoring adoption.”
If that wasn’t enough, UGN-102, its mitomycin gel that targets low-grade intermediate risk non-muscle invasive bladder cancer (LG IR-NMIBC), is set to enter pivotal testing before the end of 2020. Looking at previously released data, the therapy achieved a 65% complete response (CR) rate at three months following onset of treatment. “To offset any potential COVID-19 impact on enrollment, URGN has increased the number of clinical trial sites outside of the U.S., in those countries where virus-related clinical delays have not cropped up,”Gershell added.
Summing it all up, Gershell commented, “We believe shares trade at a discount to the value of Jelmyto and UGN-102, and that revenue growth will support stock upside over the next 12 months.”
To this end, Gershell stands with the bulls, reiterating an Outperform rating. At $48, his price target brings the upside potential to 123%. (To watch Gershell’s track record, click here)
What does the rest of the Street have to say? 3 Buy ratings and 1 Hold have been issued in the last three months. As a result, URGN receives a Strong Buy consensus rating. In addition, the $44 average price target suggests 104% upside potential. (See URGN stock analysis on TipRanks)
Ayala Pharmaceuticals Inc. (AYLA)
Last but not least we have Ayala Pharmaceuticals, which is focused on developing targeted therapies for cancers in which Notch activation is a known tumor driver. Based on the progress across its development pipeline, Oppenheimer sees big gains in store.
Oppenheimer analyst Jay Olson thinks AYLA’s technology makes it a stand-out. Its two candidates, AL101 and AL102, which are in-licensed from Bristol Myers, are gamma-secretase inhibitors that target aberrant activation of Notch signaling in cancer cells.
Notch signaling plays an important role in normal cell development, and perturbations can cause malignant transformation. “We believe Notch targeted therapies hold promise in addressing unmet clinical needs,” Olson commented.
The analyst added, “The Notch mutational landscape is diverse, and the underlying science is evolving. AYLA is building a bioinformatics database around Notch to better characterize and identify Notch-activating mutations. Additionally, AYLA is collaborating with partners developing diagnostic tests for Notch-activating mutations, both at DNA and RNA levels. We believe these initiatives benefit AYLA in the long term by identifying responders and expanding the addressable patient population.”
Despite the challenges presented by COVID-19, critical catalysts remain on track. The company is set to present new interim data from the Phase 2 ACCURACY open-label study of AL101 in R/M ACC at the mini oral head and neck cancer section of ESMO. Looking at the available data, a recent interim analysis in one cohort showed 69% DCR.
As for the second cohort, it is evaluating a 6mg once-weekly dosing of AL101. “We view the efficacy and safety data from the 6mg dosing cohort as important for the registration-enabling studies, and we anticipate similar interim data readout in 1H21,” Olson said.
Adding to the good news, AYLA is on track to kick off patient dosing in the Phase 2 TENACITY study of AL101 in R/M TNBC by YE20 after the IND was cleared by the FDA in April. In 2021, AYLA plans to initiate two additional Phase 2 studies including AL102 for desmoid tumors and AL101 for r/r T-ALL.
“Springworks Therapeutics recently announced the completion of patient enrollment of the Phase 3 DeFi trial of nirogacestat in desmoid tumors with topline data expected mid-2021, which should provide read-across to AYLA's AL102 program,” Olson noted.
Given all of the above, Olson opined, “We're encouraged by AYLA's advantages along several dimensions, including its drug candidates, cancer indication selection, and focus on identifying Notch-activating mutations while developing diagnostics. AYLA's Notch targeted approach should address unmet clinical needs for patients with rare but aggressive cancers.”
It should come as no surprise, then, that Olson stayed with the bulls. To this end, he kept an Outperform rating and $23 price target on the stock, implying 123% upside potential. (To watch Olson’s track record, click here)
Looking at the consensus breakdown, 2 Buys and 1 Hold have been published in the last three months. Therefore, AYLA gets a Moderate Buy consensus rating. Based on the $19.83 average price target, shares could climb 92% higher in the next year. (See AYLA 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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