Brookline starts Vaxart at buy; PT $6

Brookline Capital Markets launched coverage of Vaxart (NASDAQ:VXRT) with a “buy’ rating and $6 price target. The stock closed at 66 cents on Aug. 14.

Vaxart is focused on oral, recombinant vaccines that are expected to provide durable protection against a variety of viral infections. These vaccines are oral, provide durable immune responses and are differentiated as they can activate mucosal immunity in addition to systemic immunity and T-cell responses. As tablets, they have a long shelf life at room temperature.

“The market potential of the vaccines is expected to be several billions at peak, and we see this as a long-term, high-risk, high reward investment opportunity,” writes analyst Kumaraguru Raja.

The norovirus vaccine candidates against genotypes 1 and 4 strains have been tested in human trials and have shown safety, immunogenicity, and durability of up to six months, which compares with the length of a norovirus season, he added.

Further evaluations of safety and immunogenicity of a combination vaccine is being tested in a Phase 1b trial that will report in fourth quarter of 2019. A planned Phase 2 will be testing the bivalent candidates and is planned to start in 2020, Mr. Raja said.

There are no approved vaccines for norovirus, which is often referred to as the winter vomiting bug and is the most common cause of gastroenteritis.

Mr. Raja said Vaxart has entered into an R&D partnership with Janssen to develop a universal vaccine candidate for influenza on Vaxart’s oral formulation platform. Vaxart also has safety and immunogenicity data for its own influenza H1N1 vaccine candidate, which has demonstrated activation of mucosal immunity along with systemic immunity and T-cell activation.

Vaxart’s HPV therapeutic vaccine, against HPV16 and HPV18 strains, has shown good efficacy in preclinical models and should enter clinic with an IND application planned for filing in 2020, he added.


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