Maxim Group’s Jason McCarthy is bullish on cancer specialist Actinium Pharmaceuticals Inc (NYSEAMERICAN:ATNM) on the strength of its leukemia drug pipeline and commercial outlook.
McCarthy expects shares of Actinium Pharmaceuticals, which trade below $1, to rise higher in coming months thanks to a “catalyst-driven” second half.
“We believe valuation should continue to rise and drive shareholder value,” he wrote in a note to investors.
Of particular importance on the list of Actinium's research advances is its launch of a Phase 1 study of Actimab-A, its cancer-fighting treatment, which will be taken in combination with salvage chemotherapy by patients with relapsed or refractory acute myeloid leukemia.
The study will look at whether a single dose of Actimab-A, which targets the protein CD33, slashes cancer levels after patients have been treated with salvage chemotherapy, meaning patients who have not responded to other treatments.
Actinium stands out among the pharmaceutical companies offering treatments that target CD33 as it has the only "radio-labeled" CD33, which may be"more efficacious and safer," according to McCarthy.
To treat AML, researchers have to target a specific protein, CD33, that's also expressed on healthy cells. The therapy has to be finely-tuned as it cannot attack the cancer without causing damage to the residual normal bone marrow.
Another positive, according to McCarthy, is that in a Phase 2 study, its drug Actimab-A demonstrated an overall response rate of 69% in patients with recently-diagnosed cases of acute myeloid leukemia.
A round of financing last March should extend Actinium’s cash runway until late next year, according to McCarthy.
The pharma group shares are likely to continue to rise, springing off of a 52-week low, which McCarthy blames on a "lack of catalysts" as well as its financing last March. "The latter we view as a 'smart' financing that should extend the cash runway to late 2019 and through multiple catalysts," McCarthy wrote.
A busy end of the year on the research level, which includes the American Society of Hematology's annual meeting in San Diego, California, in December, should throw up additional "catalysts" to push up Actinium's valuation.
As a result, McCarthy is keeping a Buy rating and a US$3 price target on the clinical-stage New York-based biotech firm.
Actinium shares were down slightly at 1% in afternoon trade to US$0.48.