HCW ups Aurinia price target to $25

H.C. Wainwright raised its price target for Aurinia Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:AUPH) to $25 from $15 after assessing the value of the company’s recently-received new dosing regimen patent. The stock closed at $6.49 on May 22.

Analyst Ed Arce writes that following the May 14 issuance of a U.S. patent covering Aurinia’s novel voclosporin dosing protocol, HCW determined that the patent “substantially enhances the value of voclosporin as an asset for the treatment of proteinuric kidney diseases.”

The patent, which offers the potential to extend market exclusivity until the end of 2037, covers a method of modifying the dose of voclosporin to achieve an improved protocol, based on how the patient responds to treatment.

“In our view, the single largest remaining hurdle to realizing that potential patent protection (beyond the drug’s approval), is having the dosing protocol included in the future label,” Arce said.

HCW noted three upcoming milestones for Aurinia: results from its pivotal Phase 3 trial of voclosporin for the treatment of active lupus nephritis, expected in the fourth quarter of 2019; NDA submission to the FDA, expected in the second quarter of 2020; and NDA acceptance by the FDA, expected in the second quarter, or early in the third quarter, of 2020.

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