SVB Leerink starts Viridian Therapeutics at OP, PT $32


SVB Leerink launched coverage of Viridian Therapeutics (NASDAQ:VRDN) with an “outperform” rating and $32 price target. The stock closed at $19 on Nov. 17.

Viridian is a clinical-stage biotech company focused on the development of therapeutic antibodies to treat rare autoimmune diseases that are underserved by existing treatment options. 

Analyst Thomas Smith writes that Viridian’s lead drug candidate, VRDN-001, is a monoclonal antibody that inhibits insulin-like growth factor-1 receptor (IGF-1R), a clinically and commercially validated target established by the approval and success of Horizon Therapeutics (NASDAQ:HZNP) IGF-1R antibody, Tepezza, for the treatment of thyroid eye disease. 

Since the approval in January 2020, Tepezza has dramatically changed the standard of care for thyroid eye disease, with Horizon now projecting peak sales of more than $3.5-billion, he added. 

Mr. Smith said Viridian is pursuing multiple programs in parallel with its second clinical candidate, VRDN-002, an IGF-1R antibody with an extended half-life, on track to submit an IND for the treatment of thyroid eye disease in the current quarter. 

“We believe Viridian’s multi-pronged, fast-follower strategy in thyroid eye disease is an attractive approach, leveraging a clinically proven mechanism, partially de-risked lead compound, and established clinical/regulatory path to reduce the risks associated with developing new therapies, all of which we believe will enable streamlined advancement to late-stage trials and commercialization targeting a multi-billion dollar market opportunity,” Mr. Smith said.