WB starts Poseida Therapeutics at OP; fair value estimate $39

William Blair launched coverage of Poseida Therapeutics (NASDAQ:PSTX) with an “outperform” rating and fair value estimate of $39. The stock closed at $12.98 on Aug. 3.

“In our view, Poseida’s broad suite of platform technologies competitively positions it well in the cell therapy, gene therapy, and gene editing landscapes, while providing long-term optionality,” writes analyst Raju Prasad. 

Mr. Prasad said the company’s Super piggyBac system allows for non-viral integration of a DNA transgene into a genomic target site, mitigating certain hurdles of viral-based approaches. PiggyBac is complemented by Cas-CLOVER, which combines the ease of use, low cost, and ability to exert multiplex editing associated with CRISPR/Cas9 and the high editing fidelity of an endonuclease system. 

To date, he said Poseida’s autologous CAR-T drug candidate, P-BCMA-101, has shown a comparable safety and efficacy profile to the leading B-cell maturation antigen (BCMA) CAR-T in multiple myeloma with low rates of cytokine release syndromeand neurotoxicity. 

“We anticipate an update from the company’s Phase I expansion study of P-BCMA-101 in the second half of 2020 that will provide additional clinical data and delineate the go-forward path with regard to dose and treatment regimen,” he added. 

The company is also developing an allogeneic BCMA CAR-T drug candidate, P-BCMA-ALLO1, with an IND application expected in late 2020 or early 2021. P- BCMA-ALLO1 is differentiated by a heavy-chain only, humanized binder, licensed from TeneoBio, which “we believe has the potential to show a superior clinical profile,” Mr. Prasad said. 

In addition, “we view Poseida’s autologous anti-prostate-specific membrane antigen CAR- T candidate, P-PSMA-101, in metastatic castrate-resistant prostate cancer as a high-risk, high-reward opportunity, given CAR-T efficacy in solid tumors to date,” he said. Preliminary data are expected in late 2020 or early 2021.