Stifel starts CTI Biopharma at buy; PT $5.50


Stifel initiated coverage of CTI Biopharma (NASDAQ:CTIC) with a “buy” rating and price target of $5.50. The stock closed at $2.34 on May 5.

“We think the bull/bear debate on CTI Biopharma centers around the size of the pacritinib market opportunity in myelofibrosis, and to a lesser extent the drug’s approvability,” writes analyst Benjamin Burnett, Ph.D. 

“Our buy rating is based on the belief that pacritinib’s clinical profile is ideally suited for a niche segment of highly underserved myelofibrosis patients who have severe thrombocytopenia, where not only are there no approved agents, but competitive R&D is sparse,” he added. 

Dr. Burnett said pacritinib is expected to benefit from strong pricing power given the orphan nature of myelofibrosis, and precedence set by approved drugs in this category, such as Jakafi and Inrebic. 

NDA acceptance by the FDA is expected by the end of May, followed by potential accelerated approval in November/December 2021 timeframe, Dr. Burnett said. 

“We think approval is likely given FDA feedback and clinical results in this population” and “we’re therefore optimistic into the pacritinib launch,” he said.