Maxim ups BrainStorm Cell Therapeutics to buy from hold; PT $12

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Maxim Group upgraded BrainStorm Cell Therapeutics (NASDAQ:BCLI) to “buy” from “hold” with a price target of $12, citing a pullback in the stock since the ALS Phase 3 results in the fourth quarter of 2020, opportunities for NurOwn cell therapy for ALS going forward, a shifting cell therapy space, and activity in the Alzheimer’s disease (AD) space.

Shares of BrainStorm were quoted at $7.79, up $1.62, in afternoon trading on Feb. 4.

“In the cell therapy space, we are seeing a pivot toward integrating/differentiated cell therapies with Sana Biotechnology going public today, and groups that include Vertex Pharmaceuticals, Bayer and Lineage Therapeutics making progress,” writes analyst Jason McCarthy, Ph.D.

In Alzheimer’s disease, the BrainStorm’s aducanumab activity combined with movement in the space towards targeting neuroinflammation is driving a rise in AD-focused company valuations, he added.

“NurOwn ‘fits’ into these categories and has an attractive valuation, particularly given the pullback in the shares since the fourth quarter,” Dr. McCarthy said.

In the fourth quarter of 2020, BrainStorm reported that while a Phase 3 trial of NurOwn did not meet statistical significance in the primary ALS efficacy endpoint, NurOwn showed a clinically meaningful treatment response, compared with placebo, in a pre-specified subgroup.

Dr. McCarthy said next events for BrainStorm include outcomes from FDA meetings on NurOwn in ALS, possibly leading to a path to registration; multiple sclerosis Phase 2 data in the first quarter of 2021; and progress/updates in AD.

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