Chelsea Stellick of iA Capital Markets continues to have a positive outlook on NervGen Pharma (NervGen Pharma Stock Quote, Chart, News TSXV:NGEN), reiterating her “Speculative Buy” rating and target price of $6.00/share for a projected return of 115.1 per cent in an update to clients on Thursday.
Incorporated in 2017 and headquartered in Vancouver, NervGen Pharma is a clinical stage biotech company that discovers and develops treatments for patients suffering from medical conditions related to nerve damage; its lead candidate, NVG-291, is a clinical-stage asset being developed for spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer’s disease.
Stellick’s latest analysis comes after NervGen released its third quarter financial results which she noted to be positive in the company’s overall development.
Stellick said the company’s cash burn was $2 million in the quarter, which came in below the iA Capital Markets estimate of $2.8 million. The figure included $2.3 million proceeds from the equity financing during the quarter but it did not include the $9.2 million in proceeds from the equity financing subsequent to the end of the quarter.
The company’s general and administrative expenses clocked in at $1.7 million for the quarter, higher than the iA Capital Markets estimation of $1.2 million on account of higher corporate communications and stock-based compensation costs.
Meanwhile, research and development costs came in at $2 million for the quarter, a sequential increase from the $1.6 million reported in the previous quarter, which was split evenly between clinical and preclinical development, as well as placebo formulation and drug substance tech transfer costs, with the preclinical development focused on multiple sclerosis and studies required to address the partial clinical hold.
NervGen also recently released an interim report on its ongoing Phase 1 trial of NVG-291 in six cohorts of healthy adults who were dosed with NVG-291 or a placebo. Any adverse effects, which were primarily categorized as injection site reactions and headaches, were noted to be mild and transient, and no effect was observed on vital signs, ECGs, or laboratory assessments.
“We presented blinded safety and pharmacokinetic data, including data for the highest single ascending dose (SAD) cohort, that demonstrated that NVG-291 was well tolerated and had favorable pharmacokinetic properties,” said Paul Brennan, NervGen’s President & CEO in the company’s November 18 press release. “We also announced that, after completing the six planned SAD cohorts, the safety review committee overseeing the study has recommended that we proceed to the multiple ascending dose (MAD) portion of the trial. All adverse events reported in the study were mild and transient and we have tested doses in the SAD portion of the study that are substantially higher than the dose equivalents used in various animal efficacy studies.”
“The results to date have further increased our confidence that we can translate the unprecedented outcomes in animal studies to humans in our upcoming clinical trials,” Brennan added.
In late September, the company partnered with Imeka Solutions Inc., a neuroimaging company that combines artificial intelligence and diffusion imaging to obtain high resolution images of white matter in the brain, with NervGen intending to use Imeka’s technology to generate high resolution data on neural changes to precisely detect where and how NVG-291 changes the brain and spinal cord, with a further plan for the companies to collaborate on grant applications to fund additional research.
With probability adjustments in play, Stellick is not projecting revenue for the company in any of NVG-291’s intended usage points until 2027, with $106.6 million in potential revenue coming from spinal cord injury treatments, which account for over 90 per cent of the revenue projections in 2028 ($412.6 million out of a projected $446 million total), 2029 ($357.6 million out of a projected $504 million total) and 2030 ($315.4 million out of a projected $586 million total), with revenue from Alzheimer’s disease treatments becoming more pronounced in 2029 ($102.4 million) and 2030 ($188.8 million).
“The pharmacokinetic signals suggest NVG-291 has a more favourable profile in humans than in rodents, all else equal,” Stellick said. “Given the profound efficacy already seen in rodents, these early signals exceeded our expectations and are very promising for the prospect of bringing NVG-291 to humans.”
Going forward, Stellick continues to be optimistic about NervGen’s progression, and expects 2022 to be a pivotal year for the company.
“We are impressed with the progress NGEN has made thus far and look forward to completion of the Phase 1 trial and initiation of new clinical trials in 2022,” Stellick said.
Overall, NervGen’s stock has yielded a 27.2 per cent return over the course of 2021, having peaked at $3.14/share on Monday. However, its rise has been ongoing since the end of May, more than doubling its value since bottoming out at $1.30/share.
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