Shares of Vir Biotechnology, Inc. (NASDAQ: VIR) spiked almost 6% in the extended trading session on Wednesday after closing 12.1% higher on the day following the company’s recent revelation of positive data for its COVID-19 antibody treatment.
The commercial-stage immunology company said that in a preclinical study, data demonstrated that sotrovimab, the investigational SARS-CoV-2 neutralizing monoclonal antibody, and five other preclinical mAbs, retained their in vitro neutralizing activity against all tested variants, including Omicron. Notably, the company has developed the antibody along with GlaxoSmithKline (NYSE: GSK).
Vir’s CSO Herbert “Skip” Virgin said, “While we work to better understand the potential impact of the significant number of mutations in the Omicron variant and its anticipated trajectory, it is encouraging to see such a high level of consistency across a rapidly growing body of preclinical data generated from both industry and academia. These results, together with new data from external sources, continue to validate our approach of targeting a highly conserved region of the spike protein.”
“We believe this strategy is responsible for sotrovimab’s ability to maintain activity against all tested variants of concern and interest, including Omicron. We look forward to applying these learnings to our ongoing efforts to address both current and future pandemics,” he added.
Sotrovimab has been authorized for emergency use in the United States. Additionally, Xevudy (sotrovimab) has received a positive scientific opinion from the Human Medicinal Products Committee in the E.U., conditional marketing authorization (CMA) in Great Britain, provisional marketing authorization in Australia, and CMA in Saudi Arabia.
Furthermore, Vir and GSK have recently submitted a Marketing Authorization Application to the European Medicines Agency for Xevudy to treat adults and adolescents (aged 12 years and older and weighing at least 40 kg) with COVID-19. Notably, these include individuals who do not require additional oxygen and who are prone to progressing towards severe COVID-19.
Wall Street’s Take
On December 8, H.C. Wainwright analyst Patrick Trucchio reiterated a Buy rating and a price target of $200 (287.45% upside potential) on the stock.
Trucchio expects the company to report earnings of $0.85 per share in the fourth quarter of 2021.
The rest of the Street is cautiously optimistic about the stock, with a Moderate Buy consensus rating based on 2 Buys and 4 Holds. The average VIR price target of $81.83 implies 58.52% upside potential to current levels. Shares have surged 66% over the past year.
According to the new TipRanks Risk Factors tool, Vir stock is at risk mainly from three factors: Tech and Innovation, Finance and Corporate, and Legal & Regulatory, which contribute 34%, 26%, and 16%, respectively to the total 68 risks identified for the stock.