Astria Therapeutics Inc. (ATXS:NASDAQ) is capitalized through 2023 and continues advancing its lead program candidate STAR-0215 in hereditary angioedema, an area of unmet need, reported Oppenheimer analyst Hartaj Singh in an August 19, 2022 research note. These were the key takeaways from the life sciences company's recent Q2/22 business update and financial report.
"We continue to believe in the company's story and in STAR-0215's validated mechanism of action, with an established regulatory and clinical path to approval," wrote Singh. "We update our model and stay bullish."
Accordingly, Oppenheimer has an Outperform rating and a $30 per share price target on Astria. The target reflects a significant potential return for investors, given the biopharma's current share price is around $8.98.
Further, year to date, Astria has performed well. It is up 28%, whereas the SPDR S&P Biotech ETF (XBI:NYSE.Arca) is down 23%, noted Singh.
Regarding STAR-0215, the company's monoclonal antibody inhibitor of plasma kallikrein, dosing in Phase 1a, a single ascending dose trial in hereditary angioedema, a rare genetic disorder, is underway. Each of the three patient groups is subcutaneously receiving one of three doses, 100 milligrams (100 mg), 300 mg, or 600 mg. The study is being conducted at one U.S. site.
Safety, tolerability, and early efficacy data are expected by the end of this year.
"Astria continues to believe that STAR-0215 could validate a differentiated, best-in-class profile, including prolonged half-life, with the potential Phase 1a data," Singh noted. "We believe this potential drug could be a best-in-class modality," based on the preclinical data.
Should the Phase 1a results be "compelling," the analyst added, a global Phase 1b/2 study is likely and would commence in 2023.
"We look forward to visibility for opportunities for pipeline expansion, as STAR-0215 continues in hereditary angioedema in the clinic," wrote Singh.
One favorable characteristic that differentiates STAR-0215 from its approved competitor, lanadelumab is a reduced treatment burden, Singh pointed out. Even the high dose of STAR-0215, 600 mg every three months, is "significantly less" than that of lanadelumab, 300 mg every two or four weeks, the dose used as a preventative hereditary angioedema treatment.
Finally, Singh reported, Astria is well-positioned financially, having adequate funds to see it through 2023. Specifically, the company had $102.5 million in cash, cash equivalents, and short-term investments at the end of Q2/22.
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