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ARWR

Arrowhead

$4.39

-0.07 (-1.57%)

, ABUS

Arbutus Biopharma

$2.65

-0.05 (-1.85%)

10:55
11/30/16
11/30
10:55
11/30/16
10:55

Arrowhead clinical programs halt seen as boost for small-cap peer Arbutus

Shares of Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals (ARWR) are plunging after the company announced that it is stopping the development of all of its drugs currently being tested on humans due to a setback in the drug-delivery technology. Coming only three weeks after the Food and Drug Administration placed its lead asset for hepatitis B virus on clinical hold, the news sparked several rating downgrades by Wall Street analysts. Additionally, Chardan upgraded Arbutus Biopharma (ABUS) to Buy as the firm views the news as a positive for Arrowhead's competitor. CLINICAL PROGRAMS DISCONTINUED: Arrowhead will discontinue development of clinical stage drug candidates ARC-520, ARC-521, and ARC-AAT, which utilize the DPCiv, or EX1, delivery vehicle. Both ARC-520 and ARC-521 were aimed at hepatitis B, while ARC-AAT was intended to fight Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency, a rare and hereditary illness that can lead to cirrhosis or cancer. Additionally, the company announced that it is reducing its workforce by approximately 30%, while "maintaining full resourcing necessary to support current and potential future partner-based programs and Arrowhead's burgeoning pipeline." ANALYSTS MOVE TO THE SIDELINES: Piper Jaffray analyst Edward Tenthoff downgraded Arrowhead to Neutral from Overweight after the company discontinued its three clinical RNAi candidates, a decision that was based on the FDA clinical hold on ARC-520 due to deaths in an ongoing non-human primate study of high doses of EX1 delivery vehicle. The analyst noted that this was a "negative surprise," and lowered his price target on the shares to $2 from $10. Tenthoff was not the only analyst moving to the sidelines after the program halt announcement. His peer at Cantor also downgraded Arrowhead to Hold from Buy, citing similar reasons. Analyst Elemer Piros told investors in a note of his own that the company is going to focus on its subcutaneously delivered candidates, which are still in early stages of development and lack visibility. He also lowered his price target on the shares to $1 from $15. Meanwhile, William Blair analyst Katherine Xu also downgraded Arrowhead to Market Perform from Outperform, and lowered her price target on the shares to $2 from $12. While the company plans to shift focus to its preclinical subcutaneous and extra-hepatic RNAi platforms, Xu pointed out that she estimates these programs to be at least one to two years away from entering the clinic. HALT POSITIVE FOR COMPETITOR: Research firm Chardan downgraded Arrowhead to Neutral, while upgrading its competitor Arbutus to Buy. Analyst Madhu Kumar told investors that he now expects Arbutus' share of the HBV RNAi to rise to 47.5% from 17.5%. Moreover, the analyst believes that Arrowhead's discontinuations, which are specific to the dynamic polyconjugate platform, should have minimal read-across to Arbutus and its competing assets such as ARB-1467 and ARB-1740, which do not use the same technology. PRICE ACTION: In morning action, shares of Arrowhead have dropped over 64% to $1.57, while Arbutus' stock has gained over 14% to $3.03 per share.

ARWR

Arrowhead

$4.39

-0.07 (-1.57%)

ABUS

Arbutus Biopharma

$2.65

-0.05 (-1.85%)

  • 30

    Nov

  • 06

    Dec

ARWR Arrowhead
$4.39

-0.07 (-1.57%)

11/30/16
WBLR
11/30/16
DOWNGRADE
WBLR
Market Perform
Arrowhead downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at William Blair
11/30/16
CHDN
11/30/16
UPGRADE
CHDN
Buy
Arbutus Biopharma upgraded on competitor withdrawal at Chardan
As noted earlier, Chardan upgraded Arbutus (ABUS) to Buy from Neutral. Analyst Gbola Amusa upgraded the stock after Arrowhead (ARWR) announced that it was terminating its intravenously delivered RNAi clinical programs ARC-520, ARC-521, and ARC-AAT. The analyst now expects Arbutus' share of the HBV RNAi to rise to 47.5% from 17.5%. Amusa does not expect Arbutus' treatments to cause the same safety problems as those of Arrowhead. Amusa is upbeat on Arbutus' lead asset, ARB-1467. Target to $4 from $3.
11/30/16
11/30/16
DOWNGRADE
Target $2

Market Perform
Arrowhead downgraded at William Blair after clinical programs discontinued
As previously reported, William Blair analyst Katherine Xu downgraded Arrowhead to Market Perform from Outperform after the company announced that it would discontinue all of its current clinical-stage programs three weeks after the FDA placed lead asset ARC-520 for hepatitis B virus on clinical hold. The company plans to shift focus to its preclinical subcutaneous and extra-hepatic RNAi platforms, though Xu estimates these programs are at least one to two years away from entering the clinic. Xu cut her price target on Arrowhead shares to $2 from $12.
11/30/16
11/30/16
DOWNGRADE

On The Fly: Top five analyst downgrades
Catch up on today's top five analyst downgrades with this list compiled by The Fly: 1. Freeport McMoRan (FCX) downgraded to Sell from Hold at Berenberg. 2. Arrowhead (ARWR) was downgraded to Neutral from Overweight at Piper Jaffray, to Neutral from Buy at Chardan, to Hold from Buy at Cantor, and to Market Perform from Outperform at William Blair. 3. W.R. Grace (GRA) downgraded to Hold from Buy at Jefferies with analyst Laurence Alexander noting the potential for a sharp drop in free cash flow conversion once its net operating loss carry-forwards are exploited. 4. Abaxis (ABAX) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Northcoast. 5. Duluth Holdings (DLTH) downgraded to Neutral from Outperform at Baird with analyst Jonathan Komp citing the stock's recent rally and the possibility its valuation metrics have pushed beyond the levels he believes it can sustain. This list is just a portion of The Fly's full analyst coverage. To see The Fly's full Street Research coverage, click here.
ABUS Arbutus Biopharma
$2.65

-0.05 (-1.85%)

10/14/16
CHDN
10/14/16
UPGRADE
CHDN
Neutral
Arbutus Biopharma upgraded to Neutral from Sell at Chardan
10/14/16
10/14/16
UPGRADE

Neutral
Arbutus Biopharma upgraded to Neutral on valuation at Chardan
As previously reported, Chardan upgraded Arbutus Biopharma to Neutral from Sell. Analyst MadhuKumar upgraded shares citing relative shares underperformance ahead of Q4 and 2017 clinical catalyst in the Phase IIa study of ARB-1467.
11/30/16
CHDN
11/30/16
UPGRADE
CHDN
Buy
Arbutus Biopharma upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Chardan

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