Healthcare Business

Why the Top Aerie Pharma Analyst Sees It Rising Even More

Aerie Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: AERI) saw its shares skyrocket Thursday following the release of positive results from a recent study. Analysts are pouring into the stock and issuing updated calls. 24/7 Wall St. choose to highlight Canaccord Genuity and its take on Aerie.

The company reported the successful results of its second Phase 3 trial for Rhopressa, a novel once-daily, triple-action eye drop being tested for its ability to lower intraocular pressure (IOP) in patients with glaucoma or ocular hypertension. The trial achieved its primary efficacy endpoint demonstrating non-inferiority of Rhopressa compared to timolol, the most widely used comparator.

Some clinicians have been waiting for an IOP-lowering product that specifically targets the diseased tissue. However, currently no treatments in the market have this unique function.

Canaccord Genuity analyst Corey Davis has a Buy rating and increased his price target to $44 from $40. He also said in the report:

After much anticipation, Aerie announced positive data from Rocket 2, refuting Street musings that it dredged Rocket 1 to make Rhopressa seem more efficacious. While it nailed the reconfigured primary endpoint, there is still more analysis to come. But it’s now very clear that the drug has clinically meaningful activity in glaucoma and in our opinion is very approvable. Furthermore, we have already seen enough to project that Rhopressa will have a significant place among glaucoma patients with lower starting IOP.

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The firm picked Rhopressa as a winner for a few reasons:

  • Both Rhopressa QD and BID met the non-inferiority criteria versus timolol in patients with baseline IOPs<25 mmHg.
  • Rhopressa showed no evidence of waning efficacy (tachyphylaxis) over 90 days.
  • Hyperemia (red-eye) was 50% in the Rhopressa BID arm versus 35% in the QD arm, further evidence that once-daily is the right regimen.

Canaccord Genuity believes the next catalyst will be in mid-2016 with results from Rocket 4 and the first Roclatan.

Other analysts that weighed in on Aerie had this to say on Thursday:

  • Cantor Fitzgerald has a Buy rating and raised its price target to $40 from $30.
  • JMP Securities has an Outperform rating and raised its price target to $49 from $39.
  • Needham has a Buy rating and increased the price target to $45 from $27.
  • Brean Capital has a Buy rating and raised its price target to $48 from $33.
  • Stifel has a Buy rating and increased its price target to $40 from $30.
  • RBC Capital has an Outperform rating and lifted its price target to $44 from $31.

As a result of this resounding win, and analysts’ confidence in the approvability of Rhopressa, many firms raised their price targets.

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Shares of Aerie were up nearly 68% at $30.19 on Thursday afternoon. The stock has a consensus analyst price target of $32.86 and a 52-week trading range of $8.84 to $30.15.