Jason McCarthy of Maxim Group is kicking off coverage of the biotech company SCYNEXIS Inc (NASDAQ:SCYX) with a Buy rating and a US$6 price target on the strength of its novel antifungal drug SCY-078.
At a time when infections are rising, SCY-078 is a sought-after antifungal drug that works against both yeasts and molds, including strains resistant to drugs, that cause mucosal and invasive fungal infections.
“We see opportunity for Scynexis investors as its current valuation is only US$80m and SCY-078 is a novel antifungal in an era of rising infections, high mortality rates and resistance to available antifungals,” wrote Maxim’s McCarthy in a note to investors.
SCY-078 has all the desirable features of an antifungal that could translate into high adoption if approved, according to McCarthy. It is in clinical development for the treatment of a range of serious fungal infections, including vulvovaginal candidiasis (VVC), invasive candidiasis (IC), invasive aspergillosis (IA) and refractory invasive fungal infections.
In recent pre-clinical studies, SCY-078 was given to Wistar rats and Dutch-belted rabbits to assess its impact on embryo and fetal development.
“These studies provide evidence that SCY-078 does not exhibit developmental or reproductive toxicity when administered to animals before and/or during gestation,” said David Angulo, chief medical officer of SCYNEXIS. “The treatment of fungal infections during pregnancy has long been challenging due to the well-known developmental toxicities associated with existing antifungal treatments."
A Phase 2b study is also being conducted to assess the safety and tolerability of SCY-078 taken orally compared to a rival anti-fungal drug fluconazole by female patients with moderate to severe vaginal yeast infections. Data is expected from the trial in the third quarter of this year.
“In this infectious diseases space, an antifungal with broad spectrum activity that’s safe and available both orally and intravenously is likely to be widely adopted in our view,” concludes Maxim’s McCarthy.
SCYNEXIS stock was flat at US$1.70 in late morning trade.
Contact Ellen Kelleher: [email protected]