Shares of Veru (VERU 2.63%) surged 43% on Wednesday, following positive analyst commentary.
On Monday, Veru announced that an interim analysis of a phase 3 study showed that its oral antiviral-drug candidate sabizabulin cut deaths in hospitalized patients with moderate to severe COVID-19 by 55%. The biopharmaceutical company said it would seek Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) based on the results of the clinical trial.
"We expect new COVID-19 variant infections and new challenges in the treatment of hospitalized patients, particularly as the country heads into the fall and winter seasonal cycle," HD Research principal investigator Dr. Alan Skolnick, who conducted the trial, said in a press release. "With the results of this Phase 3 COVID-19 study, we now have a treatment option for the sickest hospitalized COVID patients."
The news prompted Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Brandon Folkes to repeat his overweight rating on Veru's stock. He believes the biotech's share price could climb to $24, or roughly 68% above the stock's current price near $14.30.
On Tuesday, Oppenheimer analyst Leland Gershell also reiterated his outperform rating on Veru and boosted his stock price forecast from $25 to $36. Gershell noted that the trial results suggest sabizabulin could reduce deaths in COVID-19 patients at high risk of acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), which would differentiate it from other treatment options. In turn, he thinks Veru could generate a sizable amount of revenue from sabizabulin, should it receive authorization from the FDA.
Veru is a small-cap biotech stock, and its shares are likely to remain volatile in the days and weeks ahead. But if Veru can obtain an EUA for sabizabulin, more gains could lie ahead for its shareholders.