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Don’t chase Liminal BioSciences, says Echelon Wealth

Liminal Biosciences

Liminal BiosciencesLiminal BioSciences (Liminal BioSciences Stock Quote, Chart, News TSX:LMNL) just had a major spike in its share price but Echelon Wealth analyst Douglas Loe says the upside from here is likely nothing to write home about.

In an update to clients on Thursday, Loe maintained his “Hold” rating for LMNL while raising his target price from $9.25 to $21.00.

Quebec-based biopharmaceutical company Liminal (previously known as ProMetic Life Sciences) is a developer of affinity-purified plasma products and small-molecule therapeutics targeting fibrotic and metabolic diseases.

The company made two recent announcements, one an update on its drug pipeline and the other saying Liminal has joined a number of plasma companies in the CoVIg-19 Plasma Alliance in working towards a potential new therapy for COVID-19.

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Liminal’s share price went through the roof on Thursday, at its height almost doubling in value from Tuesday’s close (the Canadian market was closed on Wednesday) before ending the day up 62 per cent.

On the new guidance, Liminal said it will be filing a re-submission during the third quarter of 2020 for its biologics license application with the US FDA for Ryplazim (plasminogen) for the treatment of congenital plasminogen deficiency, with a US launch likely to follow. As well, Liminal said its multiple ascending dose (MAD) Phase 1 clinical study of fezagepras is expected to begin in the second half of 2020.

On the updates, Loe said the Ryplazim BLA filing timeline is now essentially back on track from where it stood before COVID-19 struck, and while Liminal is essentially back to early Phase 1 testing with fezagepras, the analyst is optimistic, saying, “abundant clinical evidence for anti-fibrotic activity already available gives us confidence in the drug’s Phase 3 potential.”

On the company’s prospects, Loe wrote, “Liminal does still incur measurable financial risk, with FQ120 cash of $36.6 million in cash corresponding to at most two quarters of cash when considering FQ120 R&D expense $17.0 million and operating cash loss of ($23.3 million) in the period. But it seems plausible to us that Liminal could have access to emergency funds for advancing COVID-19-relevant therapies, and we look forward to updates on this theme in coming months.”

The analyst said that with the company’s clinical and regulatory milestones now back on track with his model and with Liminal’s plasma purification operations likely to progress through its COVID-19 involvement, his valuation has shifted and hence the raised target price.

“With LMNL shares still trading at near our revised price target, we are thus maintaining our HOLD rating on the stock but with clear opportunities to enhance visibility on pipeline with Ryplazim BLA this quarter and commencement of Phase I dose-ranging PBI-4050/fezagepras testing either this quarter or next,” Loe wrote.

Loe is forecasting 2020 revenue and EBITDA of $5.7 million and negative $86.7 million, respectively, and 2021 revenue and EBITDA of $13.5 million and negative $47.7 million, respectively.

At press time, Loe’s new target of $21.00 represented a projected one-year return of negative 9.8 per cent.

About The Author /

Cantech Letter founder and editor Nick Waddell has lived in five Canadian provinces and is proud of his country's often overlooked contributions to the world of science and technology. Waddell takes a regular shift on the Canadian media circuit, making appearances on CTV, CBC and BNN, and contributing to publications such as Canadian Business and Business Insider.
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