Maxim starts Kiora Pharma at buy; PT $2.50

Kiora pharmaceuticals

Maxim Group initiated coverage of Kiora Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:KPRX) with a “buy” rating and price target of $2.50. The stock closed at 80 cents on Jan. 18.

Kiora is developing ophthalmic medicines including, KIO-101 in dry eye disease, KIO-201 in photorefractive keratectomy (PRK) surgery recovery, and KIO-301 in retinitis pigmentosa (RP). 

Analyst Michael Okunewitch writes that KIO-201 is the most advanced candidate, having completed a Phase 3 study. “FDA interactions in first half of 2022 should clarify the need for a Phase 3b study,” he said, adding that though relatively modest, “the near-term path to revenue could offset burn on the pipeline.” 

The company’s KIO-301 drug candidate is a molecular photoswitch that reversibly turns on and off retinal ganglion cells in the presence/absence of light, Mr. Okunewitch said. It is being developed as a vision restoring therapy, initially targeting RP, with a Phase 1 study planned for the second half of 2022 and interim data before the end of 2022. 

Recent Phase 1 data for KIO-101, an eye-drop being developed for dry eye disease, demonstrated initial signals of efficacy on FDA-validated pivotal sign endpoints, Mr. Okunewitch said.

“We see a company with a diversified pipeline in the high value ophthalmic medicines space, catalysts ahead in 2022, and at a market cap of about $10-million, a compelling valuation,” he added.