Chardan starts Akero Therapeutics at buy; PT $79

Chardan Capital Markets launched coverage of Akero Therapeutics (NASDAQ:AKRO) with a “buy” rating and $79 price target. The stock closed at $34.96 on July 6.

“We expect that Akero’s lead asset, efruxifermin, has the potential to become a standard of care in patients with late-stage nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH),” writes analyst Michael Morabito. 

Akero has reported“highly impressive and significant results” from the Phase 2a BALANCED trial in NASH patients with advanced fibrosis, with liver fat reductions after only 12 weeks of efruxifermin therapy, “the magnitude of which exceeds that reported for any competing therapies in the clinic with any duration of therapy,” he added. “Similar impressive improvements in the lipoprotein profile of patients were reported at 16 weeks.”

Mr. Morabito said these results were achieved at three separate doses, with side effects mainly limited to mild/moderate GI issues at all but the highest dose. 

“Considering that Akero should benefit competitively from a once-weekly dosing schedule, compared with most other biologics in development for NASH, these initial results suggest that efruxifermin has the potential to become a standard of care in NASH patients with advanced fibrosis,” he added.