Vaxart (VXRT) began the week with a monster Monday session. Shares of the vaccine specialist surged by 47% after the biotech announced it had been given the go ahead from the FDA to commence the Phase 1 clinical trial of its oral COVID-19 vaccine candidate.
The study will evaluate the vaccine's effect on healthy adults between the ages of 18 to 55, examining the safety and reactogenicity of a two-dose regimen.
The trial's commencement couldn't have come sooner for this high-flying coronavirus stock, as the small cap is significantly behind peers in the development of its COVID-19 vaccine program. However, based on the available pre-clinical data, B Riley FBR analyst Mayank Mamtani believes "the long awaited initiation clears the path for the 'show me' story" to make a mark in a crowded yet still "uncertain landscape."
The 5-star analyst further said, "Having demonstrated the potential to activate multiple arms of the immune system, i.e., serum neutralizing antibody, dose-dependent IgG, mucosal immune and cell-mediated CD4 and CD8 T cell responses, we believe VXRT likely emerges as a dominant player in the second wave of COVID-19 vaccines with the potential to induce sterilizing immunity, conferring a high degree of immune protection while also limiting the risk for transmission."
Vaxart's rise in 2020 has been nothing less than a fairytale with shares up by 1950% so far. Yet, Mamtani urges investors pull the trigger on VXRT shares believing the "valuation disconnect relative to more advanced C-19 vaccine peers, presents an additional compelling buying opportunity."
Mamtani expects several 4Q catalysts to drive further share appreciation. These include "(1) incremental challenge data in hamsters and non-human primates (NHP); (2) in-human Ph. I proof-of-concept data informing dose selection; and (3) external Ph. III efficacy readouts (e.g., PFE/BNTX, MRNA, NVAX) informative of the value proposition of VXRT's oral vaccine, which could then result in appropriate non-dilutive funding."
To this end, Mamtani reiterates a Buy rating on VXRT alongside a $22 price target, which implies a 207% upside. (To watch Mamtani's track record, click here)
Overall, it has been relatively quiet when it comes to other analyst activity. In the last three months, only 2 analysts have issued ratings. However, as they were both Buys, the word on the Street is that VXRT is a Moderate Buy. Based on the $19.50 average price target, shares could climb 169% higher in the next twelve months. (See Vaxart stock analysis on TipRanks)
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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the featured analyst. The content is intended to be used for informational purposes only. It is very important to do your own analysis before making any investment.