Healthcare Business

Pfizer's Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy Pain Could Make Sarepta the DMD King

Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE) has released initial clinical data from its Phase 1b gene therapy study for Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD). While these results did not necessarily live up to expectations, there is a winner in this: Sarepta Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ: SRPT). A couple of analysts looked at these results as well and are decidedly for Sarepta over Pfizer.

Janney Capital suggested serious safety concerns, including two severe adverse effects that required hospital readmission due to severe gastrointestinal side effects and admission to a pediatric intensive care unit due to acute kidney injury with complement activation. Overall, four of the six patients treated in the study experienced nausea and vomiting, which caused transient weight loss.

The study has been paused because of the safety signals and after protocol changes. Pfizer is waiting for the final ethical review outcome to resume patient dosing.

Pfizer clearly has a plan to move forward with the guidance on the initiation of a randomized, placebo-controlled global Phase 3 study in the first half of 2020. Based on the data so far, Janney sees Sarepta leading in the race, in both timeline and quality of the clinical data.

Separately, Baird analyst Brian Skorney says Pfizer’s data related to its experimental therapy for patients with DMD falls short on both safety and efficacy. Again Skorney noted the two patients in the trial who experienced severe adverse effects and had to be hospitalized.

Shares of Pfizer closed Friday at $43.32, in a 52-week range of $36.00 to $46.47. The consensus price target is $45.57.

Sarepta closed up 17% at $151.95 per share. The 52-week range is $95.21 to $165.87, and the consensus analyst target is $204.35.