BioTuesdays

Brookline starts Veru at buy; PT $12

Brookline Capital Markets initiated coverage of Veru (NASDAQ:VERU) with a “buy” rating and $12 price target. The stock closed at $2.23 on July 29.

“In our view, VERU-111 and zuclomiphene have potential to be value drivers for the stock based on their differentiated profile and potential to be efficacious,” writes analyst Kumaraguru Raja.

The Phase 1b open label trial determining the maximally tolerated dose of VERU-111 in metastatic castration resistant patients with resistance to enzalutamide or abiraterone is expected report top-line data in late 2019, Mr. Raja said.

The drug is designed to target pre-chemotherapy prostate cancer patients who are resistant to castration or novel androgen blocking agents. “In early observations from the trial, VERU-111 appears to be safe and well-tolerated with no reported incidences of neurotoxicity, neutropenia, or deteriorating liver enzyme test results,” he added.

Mr. Raja said patients have also shown stabilization or reduction in their prostate-specific antigen levels, indicating disease control even with the lowest tested doses. There are no approved drugs for this indication and VERU-111 could become an option for these patients.

Veru is also enrolling about 100 patients in a Phase 2 study evaluating oral VERU-944, a novel estrogen receptor agonist, for treatment of hot flashes related to androgen deprivation therapy in men with advanced prostate cancer.

Mr. Raja said preliminary data has demonstrated acceptable safety and tolerability and also reduction in hot flashes in treated men. Top-line data is expected in the fourth quarter of 2019.

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