US investment bank B Riley has reiterated its ‘buy’ advice and US$8 a share price target for Tiziana Life Sciences (NASDAQ:TLSA) (LON:TILS).
The update followed positive data from a study assessing the use of Tiziana’s nasally administered monoclonal antibody treatment in patients with coronavirus (COVID-19).
Analyst Mayank Mamtani noted the “robust clinical benefit observed” following treatment with Foralumab, particularly in delaying disease progression.
“Interestingly, patients treated with monotherapy Foralumab demonstrated better results when compared to patients that were also treated with Dexa [a corticosteroid used in one cohort],” he noted. See the results below:
The fully human anti-CD3 monoclonal antibody (mAB) proved to be safe in the group of 39 patients that were assessed by a team that included researchers from the prestigious Harvard Medical School.
In a statement, lead scientist Dr Thais Moreira said: “We are delighted to see that patients treated with nasally administered Foralumab showed a positive trend in the reduction of lung inflammation, and supportive data indicating significant reduction in cytokine IL-6 and C-reactive protein.
“In addition, there are indications from patients who reported that treatment with Foralumab rapidly improved the smell and taste sensations that are frequently lost with the severity of COVID-19 disease”.
Nasally-administered Foralumab is thought to work by improving the immune system by stimulating the body’s regulatory T cells.
It is also believed to dampen cytotoxic (harmful) T cell responses in the nasal and respiratory tract, the primary sites of the COVID-19 virus.
As such, Tiziana’s scientists think Foralumab may be effective in treating new coronavirus variants from the UK, Brazil and South Africa because it does not attack the disease directly but modulates its effects on the immune system.
Zak’s highlights a potentially new approach
The drug is the first monoclonal antibody that can be dosed nasally or orally due to its ability to affect systemic immunity via the epithelial lining of the nose, respiratory tract and gut.
This marks it out as different to mAB innovations such as Sorrento Therapeutics’ (NASDAQ:SRNE) COVID-19 treatment, which is directly injected.
Zak’s Small-Cap Research, which initiated coverage Tuesday, said: “The positive results reported this morning suggest that this approach was indeed successful.
“This is important because the scientific concept underlying this therapeutic approach may be useful for treatment of COVID-19 and its newly identified variants in UK, South Africa and Brazil.”
The shares, which have more than doubled in value since mid-December, were up 15% in early Wall Street trading. But at US$4.39, the stock would have to rise a further 83% to hit the B Riley US$8 target.