Data from Antibe’s Phase 2 study of ATB-346 is expected to be released in the coming weeks, with the fully-enrolled trial randomizing its last patient in February 2020.
The research firm is maintaining a Speculative Buy rating and a price target of C$1.40 on the stock (current price: C$0.47).
ATB-346 performed “exceedingly well” in an already-completed 246-patient Phase I/II gastro-duodenal ulceration rate trial, analysts Douglas Loe and Siew Ching Yeo wrote in a note.
At a once-daily dose level of 250-mg, ATB-346 generated much lower gastrointestinal (GI) ulceration rate or severity than control patients treated with naproxen at its indicated dose of 550-mg twice daily, according to the analysts. Only 2.5% of ATB-346-treated patients endured any GI ulcer formation while 42% of naproxen-treated patients did.
Phase II sees the drug’s efficacy tested at even lower doses. The trial is testing ATB-346’s pain-mitigating activity at three separate doses – 150-mg, 200-mg and 250-mg once-daily.
“Clearly the respective dosage strengths of ATB-346 versus naproxen were substantially different and so the soon-to-be-completed Phase II knee osteoarthritis pain trial will be hugely critical to our investment thesis for providing insights into the analgesic power of ATB-346 at a dose now known to confer minimal risk of GI ulceration,” Loe and Yeo wrote.
The analysts said that a “key value inflection point” is forthcoming with the release of Phase II data. Echelon’s valuation is still focused on ATB-346, though preclinical pipeline of hydrogen sulfide-releasing drugs has its own attractive prospects.
Toronto-based Antibe develops safer, non-addictive medicines for pain and inflammation. The company’s technology involves linking a hydrogen sulfide-releasing molecule to an existing drug to produce an improved medicine.
In addition to ATB-346, the company’s second pipeline drug ATB-352, targets the need for a non-addictive analgesic for treating post-surgical pain. ATB-340, meanwhile, is a GI-safe derivative of aspirin.
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