When it comes to the market’s wild swings, is the glass half empty or half full? Oppenheimer’s chief investment strategist John Stoltzfus is taking the latter view.
Despite the volatility that has ruled the market over the last few weeks, Stoltzfus actually likes what he’s witnessing in both the market and the economy. In particular, he points to U.S. companies that have been outperforming most other markets around the world as exciting plays, with the innovation in the U.S. reflecting a key component of his bullish thesis.
“The U.S. is outperforming most of the markets around the world — whether it’s developed markets or emerging markets... We’ve taken out the froth that had come into the market in certain [mega cap] names. It may be a good opportunity to pick up some really good, high quality growth stories that are on sale right now,” Stoltzfus noted.
Additionally, the strategist believes the S&P 500 could climb back to its September 2 high point, based on improving economic data. The approval of a COVID-19 vaccine as well as an election outcome that is “friendly to the domestic economy, business, job growth and the taxpayer” could also push the index higher.
Turning Stoltzfus’ outlook into tangible recommendations, Oppenheimer analysts are pounding the table on two stocks, with these pros seeing over 100% upside potential in store. Running the tickers through TipRanks’ database, we wanted to find out exactly what makes them so compelling.
Brickell Biotech (BBI)
Focused on the development of innovative and differentiated therapeutics for the treatment of skin diseases, Brickell Biotech wants to improve the lives of patients everywhere. Given the potential of the company's lead candidate and its $0.82 share price, Oppenheimer thinks that now is the time to pull the trigger.
Sofpironium bromide (SB), a prescription treatment for axillary hyperhidrosis (AH, or excessive underarm sweating), is entering U.S. Phase 3 trials. This program will consist of two identical six-week studies, and will evaluate its ability to improve the condition per the objective (gravimetric sweat production) and subjective (HDSM-Ax) co-primary endpoints. Each is expected to last 12 months, and the first will kick off next quarter.
Roughly 10 million people in the U.S. suffer from AH, with this condition interfering with daily social and professional activities. Currently, only 2.3 million receive prescription treatment, and some resort to invasive or permanent interventions like Botox, MiraDry or surgery.
Oppenheimer’s Leland Gershell argues that more conservative approaches could be used to meet these medical needs. He also believes the recent entry of Eli Lilly’s competing product, Qbrexza, represents a significant step forward. That said, there’s “room for improvement” with this anti-cholinergic approach.
Looking at a U.S. Phase 2b trial, the highest dose of BBI's SB gel (15%) demonstrated 46% greater sweat reduction per gravimetric analysis compared to the placebo, with significant reductions in a validated patient-reported outcome instrument seen at all doses. Based on the trial data, efficacy is over 50% better than Qbrexza per label, despite higher baseline severity. In addition, their safety profiles were relatively similar.
It should be noted that BBI will market the drug to U.S. dermatologists through a specialty salesforce of 120 representatives. According to Gershell’s estimates, uptake by 110,000 patients per year (just 5% of the currently treated AH population) translates to $200 million in gross sales. The analyst adds that patent issuance could extend market exclusivity to 2040.
Adding to the good news, on September 25, BBI announced that Kaken Pharmaceutical, its development partner, got the green light to manufacture SB in Japan for the treatment of AH. Japan is the first country to approve the candidate, with the launch expected later this year.
To sum it all up, Gershell stated, “By virtue of its efficacy, tolerability, and antiperspirant-like application, we believe SB offers an attractive profile in a market that offers much room for improved solutions. We encourage risk-tolerant investors to build a position ahead of upcoming newsflow.”
To this end, Gershell rates BBI an Outperform (i.e. Buy) along with a $5 price target. This target conveys the analyst’s confidence in BBI's ability to surge 502% from current levels. (To watch Gershell’s track record, click here)
Looking at the consensus breakdown, 2 Buys and no Holds or Sells have been published in the last three months. As a result, BBI gets a Moderate Buy consensus rating. The $5 average price target is identical to Gershell’s. (See BBI stock analysis on TipRanks)
Aldeyra Therapeutics (ALDX)
As for Oppenheimer’s other pick, Aldeyra Therapeutics works to bring new treatment options for immune-related diseases to market. Based on the solid progress of its pipeline, the firm has high hopes for this healthcare name.
Representing Oppenheimer, analyst Justin Kim points out that he came away from a recent conversation with the CEO even more confident in ALDX’s long-term growth prospects. Pivotal studies on reactive aldehyde species (RASP) are slated for Q4 2020, evaluating the action of reproxalap, Aldeyra's lead therapy designed to clamp down on overactive inflammation, on tear levels of RASP over a period ranging from 1-2 days to 28 days. “Based on Phase 2a results, we are confident in the ability to replicate results in Q4 2020,” Kim stated.
Given the potential of dry eye disease (DED) in the near-term, the analyst expects significant investor focus to land on clinical trial execution (Phase 3 RASP studies and safety study), which would support a potential NDA filing by the end of 2021, in Kim’s opinion. “Despite some volatility in the shares, we see a solid setup emerging as the company initiates its Phase 3 RASP studies in dry eye disease (DED),” he said.
Speaking to the potential of RASP as an accepted dry eye endpoint, ALDX has experienced “a watershed moment,” with it facilitating an expedited path to registration (from traditional sign endpoints) and greater likelihood of clinical trial success, based on reproxalap's mechanism of action (MoA) as a RASP-trap, according to Kim.
He added, “Moreover, agreement on RASP could have broader implications for a commercial launch in dry eye, a market that we believe will see segmentation as more therapies with targeted MoAs become incorporated into the armamentarium.”
“We continue to be impressed by the progress in achieving a potential concurrent filing for dry eye and allergic conjunctivitis (AC), appreciating the importance of a differentiated dry eye agent with action also in AC. As the dry eye therapeutic landscape increases its options, we expect greater segmentation of the heterogeneous patient population potentially beginning with reproxalap's positioning in ‘allergic dry eye’,” the analyst concluded.
For the rest of 2020, focus is likely to stay on Phase 3 study designs (assay work/development), execution and the potential readout in DED, which could set the stage for a commercial launch in DED and AC in 2022.
If that wasn’t enough, based on the broader pipeline of candidates targeting PVR, inflammatory conditions and COVID-19, Kim sees “a rich environment of catalysts for the shares over the coming 12-18 months.”
It should come as no surprise, then, that Kim stayed with the bulls. To this end, he kept an Outperform rating and $15 price target on the stock. Investors could be pocketing a gain of 110%, should this target be met in the twelve months ahead. (To watch Kim’s track record, click here)
What does the rest of the Street have to say? Only Buy ratings, 2 to be exact, have been issued in the last three months. So, the consensus rating is a Moderate Buy. In addition, the $23.50 average price target suggests 227% upside potential from current levels. (See ALDX stock analysis on TipRanks)
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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the featured analysts. The content is intended to be used for informational purposes only. It is very important to do your own analysis before making any investment.