US investment bank B. Riley Financial has reiterated its ‘buy’ advice and US$8 a share price target for Tiziana Life Sciences (NASDAQ:TLSA, LON:TILS) after a double dose of good news.
Shares in the group advanced 7.5% after the US Food & Drug Administration approved the use of its nasally administered monoclonal antibody to treat a person with secondary progressive multiple sclerosis (SPMS).
The same drug, Foralumab, is also moving into phase II clinical trials to assess its potential to treat moderate to severe Covid symptoms after it showed encouraging early signs of being able to tamp down the body’s immune reaction to the virus.
“Despite a recent pullback in the shares…we continue to like the risk-reward set-up headed into later-stage clinical trials, which we believe will further showcase the breadth of Foralumab’s therapeutic potential across multiple inflammatory diseases,” analyst Mayank Mamtani said in a note to clients.
The stock recouped some of the ground lost recently as it nudged up to US$2.82 a share; however, the Riley price target sits at a 180% premium to that valuation.
Although in the formative stages of development, Foralumab may at some point offer another option to sufferers of SPMS, and the more common progressive form of the disease.
Tysabri, sold by Biogen Inc (NASDAQ:BIIB), is the most notable of the drugs offering relief. The MS market, though fragmented, is large at an estimated US$25bn a year, according to the research firm insightSLICE.
“While we remain encouraged about the potential of Foralumab to drive clinically meaningful benefits on both anti-inflammatory markers and patient-reported outcomes on improvements in symptomatology, we also note that the study may serve to further de-risk ongoing efforts in a relatively larger market opportunity in progressive MS,” said Riley’s Mamtani.
Phase II in MS soon?
The analyst reckons Tiziana will commence the initiation of its phase II clinical trial of nasal Foralumab in “the next few weeks”.
The drug developer previously completed a phase I trial of nasally administered Foralumab, which showed it to be well-tolerated with no drug-related safety issues.
Nasal foralumab was developed by Professor Howard Weiner, chairman of Tiziana’s scientific advisory board.