Maxim starts Medivir at buy; PT $3

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Maxim Group initiated coverage of Sweden-based Medivir AB (OMX:MVIR-B) with a “buy” rating and $3 price target. The stock closed at 77 cents on June 16.

Medivir is developing MIV-818 (fostrox), a prodrug of the chemotherapy agent, troxacitabine, initially for 2L hepatocellular carcinoma.

Phase 1b data in liver cancers demonstrated a positive safety/tolerability profile, activity of the drug in liver cancer cells, and early signals of efficacy, writes analyst Jason McCarthy.

He said a Phase 1b/2a clinical trial is ongoing, evaluating combinations of fostrox plus Keytruda and fostrox plus Lenvima. The Phase 1b portion will establish dosing and which combination(s) to move forward to a Phase 2a study. Updates are expected in 2022 and 2023.

Dr. McCarthy said Medivir has two shots on goal with two combos being evaluated, and updates from the Phase 1b/2a should provide catalyst(s) for Medivir shares.

The company also has two assets, including remetinostat (topical HDAC inhibitor) and MIV-711 (oral; cathepsin K inhibitor) that have completed Phase 2 trials and could be partnered or divested, providing potential additional upside, Dr. McCarthy said.

Medivir already out-licensed its SMAC inhibitor, birinapant, to IgM Bioscience and the IgM combo program is in a Phase 1 study, where data updates could provide additional upside, he added.