Needless to say the biotech world has had a very difficult year. Even the biggest and the best companies, many of which trade cheaper than big pharmaceutical companies, have suffered as investors have fled the sector. Much of the blame for the poor showing is the very shrill rhetoric from some politicians in an election year over drug pricing, and while there is always an argument for lower prices, taking down an entire sector is extreme.
Three new reports from the analysts at Wedbush focus on companies that not only have data that could prove to be huge, but they have been absolutely hammered over the last year and are offering aggressive accounts the best entry points in some time. These stocks are very speculative, and though rated Outperform, they are only appropriate for very aggressive portfolios.
This company was mauled at the beginning of this year, but it now looks poised to go higher. Ardelyx Inc. (NASDAQ: ARDX) discovers, develops and commercializes minimally systemic therapeutics for the gastrointestinal (GI) tract to treat GI and cardio-renal diseases. Its lead product candidate is tenapanor, which is in Phase 3 clinical trial for the treatment of patients with constipation-predominant irritable bowel syndrome, as well as in Phase 2b clinical trial for the treatment of hyperphosphatemia or elevated serum phosphorus levels in patients with end-stage renal disease.
The company is also developing RDX022, an oral, non-absorbed potassium-binder for the treatment of hyperkalemia or elevated serum potassium. Its drug candidates in earlier stages of research and development include RDX009, a secretagogue of glucagon-like peptide-1 and glucagon-like peptide-2, as well as RDX013, a small molecule drug candidate for hyperkalemia. It has a collaboration partnership with AstraZeneca for the development and commercialization of tenapanor and an option and license agreement with Sanofi to conduct research for evaluating small molecule NaP2b inhibitors for the treatment of hyperphosphatemia in chronic kidney disease patients on dialysis.
Wedbush feels that feedback from the FDA de-risks the company’s tenapanor, which acts as an inhibitor of the sodium-proton exchanger NHE3. It also increases the likelihood that the current study will be a success, albeit with a slight time delay. The analyst feels that tenapanor could become accepted as a differential and effective treatment for hyperphosphatemia, which is an electrolyte disturbance in which there is an abnormally elevated level of phosphate in the blood.
Wedbush has a whopping $24 price target on the stock, and the Wall Street consensus target is $19.14. The shares closed most recently at $10.68.