Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) research firm Solid Biosciences Inc. (SLDB:NASDAQ) was upgraded by analysts at Chardan Capital Markets from a "neutral" rating to a "buy" rating in a report issued this morning. Chardan's biotechnology and pharmaceuticals analyst Gbola Amusa, MD, CFA, wrote, "We now upgrade SLDB from Neutral to Buy, increasing our price target from $7.50 to $10.00 ahead of Solid's anticipated IGNITE DMD data update later this year...The risks surrounding SGT-001 are well-known to the market, and any improvements in the market's view of SGT-001 safety and/or efficacy (e.g. with the IGNITE DMD data update later this year) could lead to significant share price momentum."
News of the upgrade gained much attention from investors and the stock has traded up higher than 40% at times today over yesterday.
Earlier this week the company provided a business update and announced financial results for the second quarter ended June 30, 2019.
During Q2/19, research and development (R&D) expenses were $21.6 million, compared to $13.6 million for Q2/18. The increase was primarily attributable to compensation and other costs associated with additional headcount, as well as facility costs and increased costs related to the clinical development and manufacturing activities for SGT-001. General and administrative expenses for Q2/19 were $5.4 million, compared to $4.6 million for Q2/18.
The firm reported a net loss for Q2/19 of $26.5 million, compared to $18.0 million for Q2/18.
In the release the company reiterated that it had raised $60 million through a private placement that closed on July 30, 2019. Solid had $67.4 million in cash, cash equivalents and available-for-sale securities as of June 30, 2019, compared to $122.5 million as of December 31, 2018. Including the proceeds from the July 2019 private placement, Solid expects that that company has sufficient capital to fund its operations into the fourth quarter of 2020.
Ilan Ganot, CEO, president and co-founder of Solid Biosciences, commented, "We continue to execute on our mission to bring transformative therapies to patients with Duchenne muscular dystrophy, and we have taken several steps towards reaching our goal...We have amended the IGNITE-DMD protocol to expedite our clinical path evaluating our SGT-001 gene transfer candidate and have treated a second patient in our higher dose cohort. We also bolstered our financial resources and extended our runway. Looking forward, we continue to anticipate providing a data update from the IGNITE DMD clinical trial in the months ahead."
Solid's lead candidate, SGT-001, is a novel adeno-associated viral (AAV) vector-mediated gene transfer under investigation for its ability to address the underlying genetic cause of Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), mutations in the dystrophin gene that result in the absence or near-absence of dystrophin protein. SGT-001 is a systemically administered candidate that delivers a synthetic dystrophin transgene, called microdystrophin, to the body. SGT-001 has been granted Rare Pediatric Disease Designation, or RPDD, and Fast Track Designation in the United States and Orphan Drug Designations in both the United States and European Union.
Solid Biosciences describes itself as a life science company focused solely on finding meaningful therapies for Duchenne muscular dystrophy. The company states that is was founded by those touched by the disease and is a center of excellence for DMD, bringing together experts in science, technology and care to drive forward a portfolio of candidates that have life-changing potential. Solid is progressing programs across four scientific platforms: Corrective Therapies; Disease-Modifying Therapies; Disease Understanding and Assistive Devices.
The company's shares opened today at $6.84 (+$0.69, +11.22%) over yesterday's close of $6.15, but are trading higher now between $6.74-8.74. At present, the stock is trading at $8.74 ($2.59, +42.11%).[NLINSERT]
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