Apellis Stock dives as eye treatment fails in one trial, succeeds in another

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Photograph by Ed Jones/AFP/Getty Images

Apellis Pharmaceuticals

was down sharply on Friday after the drug developer released mixed results for pegcetacoplan, an experimental treatment for one of the leading causes of blindness.

Apellis said a Phase 3 study met its primary endpoint for monthly and bimonthly treatment in adults with geographic atrophy secondary to age-related macular degeneration, a disease that affects about 1 million people in the United States and more than 5 million people. globally. A second study, however, failed to meet its primary endpoint.

The company said, based on the studies, it expects to file for Food and Drug Administration approval of pegcetacoplan for geographic atrophy in the first half of 2022.

The failure of the second study prevailed as the stock fell 39.12% to $33.85 on Friday. The stock is down 40% since the start of 2021 after Friday’s plunge. It has increased by about 18% over the past year.

Analysts weren’t kind to the stock after the earnings release. JP Morgan analysts cut their price target on the stock to $57 from $101, but maintained their overweight rating.

Wedbush analysts downgraded the stock to neutral, saying “although we clearly made the wrong call, the key question going forward centers on the potential approval of pegcetacoplan.”

Wedbush has a target price of $39 on the stock, down from $71 previously.

Analysts at Needham reiterated their buy rating on Apellis shares but lowered their price target to $70 from $85.

Needham analysts said they believe the full study results, including a favorable efficacy/safety profile for “high unmet need geographic atrophy, are likely sufficient for the FDA approval”.

Write to editors@barrons.com

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