Arbutus Biopharma, a biopharmaceutical company, received the go ahead to commence the Phase 1a/1b clinical trial of AB-836, its proprietary oral capsid inhibitor for the treatment of Hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection.
Hepatitis B is a life-threatening liver infection caused by HBV. As per the data released by the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 250 million people are infected by chronic HBV globally, while other estimates specify that around 2 million people in the US are chronic HBV infection sufferers.
AB-836 is expected to treat HBV after combining with other drugs that have different mechanisms of action, including AB-729, with a single dose daily, Arbutus (ABUS) said.
Arbutus’ Chief Scientific Officer Dr. Michael Sofia said, “Based on pre-clinical studies with AB-836, which is derived from a novel chemical series in this class, we believe it has the potential for improved clinical efficacy and safety as well as a favorable resistance profile relative to earlier generation capsid inhibitors.” (See Arbutus stock analysis on TipRanks)
In response to this development, H.C. Wainwright analyst Ed Arce maintained a Buy rating and a price target of $10 (162.5% upside potential).
Arce said, “AB-836 could become a key component in HBV combination therapies as Arbutus continues its progress with AB-729, its proprietary GalNAc-delivered RNAi therapeutic candidate for HBV.”
The rest of the Street is cautiously optimistic about the stock with a Moderate Buy consensus rating. That’s based on 5 analysts suggesting a Buy and 2 analysts recommending a Hold. The average analyst price target of $6.43 implies 68.8% upside potential to current levels. Shares have gained about 28% over the past six months.
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