SVB Leerink on Viridian Therapeutic (VRDN)
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SVB Leerink analyst Thomas Smith reiterated an Outperform rating and $40.00 price target on Viridian Therapeutic (NASDAQ: VRDN).
The analyst comments "On the heels of HZNP's (OP, Risinger) disclosure that they have engaged in preliminary discussions with multiple large pharma companies regarding a potential acquisition offer (here), we see positive readthrough to VRDN (OP), which is pursuing a multipronged, fast-follower strategy to HZNP’s blockbuster Tepezza via their pipeline of IGF-1R antibodies in patients with thyroid eye disease (TED). Tepezza (IGF-1R antibody) is the only FDA approved therapeutic for TED, and represents HZNP’s largest current revenue contributor (~$1.7bn in FY21 or ~51% of total sales), as well as the largest component of total revenue through FY31 per Visible Alpha consensus estimates. VRDN is pursuing TED with its portfolio of optimized IGF-1R antibodies, with the potential to differentiate either clinically or commercially. VRDN's lead program VRDN-001 has generated initial clinical data in TED patients from two IV dose cohorts that compare favorably vs. Tepezza across multiple measures of efficacy at 6 weeks (see our notes HERE and HERE), with potential for further validation from a lower 3mg/kg dose cohort expected in January 2023. VRDN's low-volume subcutaneous dosing strategy with next-generation IGF-1R antibodies VRDN-002 and VRDN-003 may lead to further differentiation vs. Tepezza. Overall, we see takeover interest in HZNP as validating strategic interest and value in TED that should have positive readthrough to VRDN's IGF-1R programs. On the back of this validation and with shares trading at a significant discount to HZNP, we see compelling value in the VRDN platform likely to be unlocked by further clinical data de-risking and increasing perception of strategic optionality. Reiterate OP."
Shares of Viridian Therapeutic closed at $22.88 yesterday.
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