Research Capital Corporation analyst André Uddin is staying bullish on biotech name IMV (IMV Stock Quote, Chart, News, Financials, Analysts TSX:IMV), maintaining a “Speculative Buy” rating but lowering his target price from US$6.90/share (C$8.60/share) to US$4.00/share (C$5.00 share) in his latest update to clients on Wednesday.
Headquartered in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, with a new corporate office in Cambridge, Mass., IMV is a clinical-stage biotechnology company which focuses on developing novel immunotherapies based on its proprietary drug delivery platform, DepoVax.
Uddin’s latest update comes after a busy start to August for IMV, which began with Chief Business Officer Andrew Hall taking over as interim CEO after Frederic Ors stepped down on August 4.
On Tuesday, the company announced final results from its DeCidE1 clinical study to evaluate the effectiveness of maveropepimut-S (MVP-S, formerly known as DPX-Survivac) in subjects with advanced recurrent ovarian cancer, followed by IMV announcing its second quarter financial and operational results on Wednesday.
IMV reported total revenues of $0.0 million for the quarter, shy of the RCC projection of $0.1 million, while net losses came in at $7.4 million, ahead of RCC’s projection of an $8.9 million net loss. (All figures in US dollars except where noted otherwise.)
Uddin notes that IMV management believes IMV has a sufficient cash position to fund operations for more than 12 months on account of having $22.8 million in cash compared to $6.7 million in debts, along with raising $25 million through equity financing in July, bringing the company’s pro forma cash to $45.8 million as of June 30.
However, because IMV is still at the clinical stage, Uddin notes that financial information is less important than it will be in the future.
“IMV is undergoing a critical transformation and focusing on delivering tangible clinical and scientific data to support further development and commercialization of our unique programs and DPX platform technology,” Hall said in the company’s August 11 press release announcing the results.
“The recent results obtained with the translational analyses in ovarian cancer further validate our lead compound and DPX technology. We are also very excited by the overall expansion of our clinical pipeline across a range of tumor antigens and indications. Our recent financing has strengthened our balance sheet and provided us with the runway to deliver additional confirmatory data to investors and the scientific community,” he said.
Uddin projects quarterly revenues for the rest of 2021 to remain in line with reports since the beginning of 2020, with an expectation of $0.1 million for each of the final two quarters of this year for a projected $0.3 million in total revenues for the year. With Uddin pushing his expectation of a licensing deal with Merck back to late 2022, he projects revenues to pick up steam in 2023 and beyond, culminating in a $122.9 million projection for 2025, which is also the first year he projects positive earnings per share (US$0.81/share) and cash flow per share (US$0.96/share).
Uddin has projected P/Sales for the first time in 2021, starting out at an estimated 554.7x before a forecasted drop to 172.6x for 2022. 2023 and 2024 both project to hold at 56.3x before diving to 1.2x in 2025.
Uddin noted the newly reported data from the clinical trial, which was conducted in 22 ovarian cancer patients with a median of three lines of prior therapy, showed an overall survival rate of 44.9 per cent after approximately two years of follow-up, with a median overall survival rate of approximately 20 months.
“Based on historical data with a similar group of people, the overall survival for ovarian cancer patients shows 3L+ with approximately a 10.6 month mOS if treated,” Uddin said. “Thus, Maveropepimut-S with intermittent low dose cyclophosphamide (CPA) is showing very promising results for treating drug resistant ovarian cancer patients.”
In addition to the potential of a Phase 2b clinical trial for MVP-S as a monotherapy in recurring ovarian cancer patients pending FDA approval, IMV is also expected to begin a Phase 1b trial in the third quarter to test MVP-S within 18 breast cancer patients, with a further update on a separate trial involving bladder patients expected in the fourth quarter.
Meanwhile, IMV has also begun a Phase 2b trial for MVP-S in conjunction with Merck’s Keytruda product, with the first set of results expected in the first half of 2022.
“The translational analyses provide strong evidence that maveropepimut-S successfully elicits the generation of tumor antigen-specific T cells,” said Dr. Jeremy Graff, Chief Scientific Officer of IMV in the company’s August 10 press release. “Importantly, these analyses affirm the molecular and cellular mechanism of MVP-S based therapy. This data will also inform the discussion and design of a Phase 2 clinical study to be submitted to the FDA.”
IMV is trading at US$1.55/share on NASDAQ at press time, down from its Wednesday closing of US$1.59/share. The stock is down 51.72 per cent since January 1.
At the time of publication, Uddin’s US$4.00/C$5.00 target represented a projected one-year return of 119 per cent.
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