SVB starts Pliant Therapeutics at OW: PT $33

Pliant Therapeutics

SVB Securities initiated coverage of Pliant Therapeutics (NASDAQ:PLRX) with an “outperform” rating and price target of $33. The stock closed at $19.22 on July 19.

Pliant is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company developing novel therapies for the treatment of fibrosis and related diseases.

After seeing a sustained sell-off since early 2021, Pliant shares have rebounded significantly after the company announced top-line results from its Phase 2a INTEGRIS-IPF study of PLN-74809 earlier this month that exceeded investor expectations, writes analyst Mike Kratky.

“Based on these results, we now expect PLN-74809 to compete for a potential best-in-class profile in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, a $4-billion global commercial market where safe and effective therapies are desperately needed,” Mr. Kratky said.

In addition, he said the Phase 2a results were “meaningfully de-risking” for PLN-74809 ahead of additional data from the Phase 2a INTEGRIS-IPF study in early 2023 that will include a higher 320 mg dose of PLN-74809, and initial top-line results from the Phase 2a study of PLN-74809 in primary sclerosing cholangitis patients expected in the first half of 2023.

“With a promising lead product candidate being developed in two commercially attractive indications and cash runway through multiple potential value-inflecting catalysts where we see a favorable risk-reward set-up for the shares, we believe the recent move higher for Pliant may be just the beginning,” Mr. Kratky said.