HCW ups Calithera to buy on steady progress of clinical programs

H.C. Wainwright upgraded Calithera Biosciences (NASDAQ:CALA) to “buy” from “neutral” with a 12-month price target of $8, citing two ongoing clinical development programs that are expected to provide data updates in the first quarter of 2023. The stock closed at $3.27 on Aug. 26.

“If positive, both drugs could be evaluated in registrational studies to achieve accelerated FDA approval,” writes analyst Swayampakula Ramakanth, Ph.D. Based on projections, “we believe Calithera is undervalued at current valuation of approximately $20-million,” he added.

In October 2021, Calithera acquired two clinical-stage assets – mivavotinib and sapanisertib – from Takeda.

Calithera is conducting an open-label Phase 2 study evaluating mivavotinib as a monotherapy for the treatment of a relapsed/refractory type of diffuse large B-cell lymphoma.

Calithera also is evaluating sapanisertib in an open-label Phase 2 study in patients with a relapsed/refractor type of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).

Dr. Ramakanth said that on the quarterly conference call, Calithera announced data from the dose-escalation portion of a Phase 1/2 investigator-initiated study evaluating sapanisertib in combination with telaglenastat, an investigational glutaminase inhibitor, in patients with advanced NSCLC.

In addition to a favorable tolerability profile, the combination treatment achieved early clinical benefits, he added. “These data, albeit preliminary, strengthen our belief of sapanisertib’s therapeutic value in patients with [certain] biomarker-specific NSCLC,” he said.