BTIG initiated coverage of Silence Therapeutics (NASDAQ, AIM: SLN) with a “buy” rating and $32 price target. The stock closed at $16.70 on Nov. 17.
The company is a development stage therapeutics company based on nearly two decades of research into optimizing the efficacy and safety of small interfering (siRNA) therapeutics. These RNA-based gene modulators are widely applicable in metabolic diseases where modulation of liver-based gene expression can be exploited to improve patient’s lives, writes analyst Thomas Shrader, Ph.D.
Dr. Shrader said the company’s SLN360 drug candidate is focused on the cardiac risk factor, lipoprotein-a, where elevated expression levels are seen in about 10% of adults and can lead to two-to-threefold increase in cardiovascular risk and where no effective treatments exist.
SLN124 is the second clinical candidate designed to indirectly increase the low hepcidin levels that result in iron toxicity in patients with impaired erythropoiesis (red blood cell formation – the major use of iron in cells), he added.
“Each program is based on established preclinical data making successful clinical development largely based on safety and a therapeutic profile (efficacy/cost/convenience) that is better than competitors,” Dr. Shrader said.
He said Silence also is well-positioned as one of a “handful of developmental powerhouses as the siRNA field is developing key technologies to move beyond liver cell delivery.”
In addition, he said Silence has several important collaborations that are expected to both help finance pipeline expansion, with more than $6-billion in total potential milestones from existing deals, and deliver new technologies to the Silence research engine.