The available vaccines’ questionable effectiveness against mutant strains and the logistic challenges of worldwide distribution, suggest the battle against the pandemic is not over yet.
With these factors in mind, Maxim analyst Jason McCarthy thinks Atossa Therapeutics (ATOS) could yet have a role to play in fighting the coronavirus.
McCarthy’s latest endorsement follows the completion of the Phase 1 study for AT-301, Atossa’s nasal spray drug candidate. The treatment targets recently diagnosed Covid-19 patients whose symptoms aren’t severe enough to require hospitalization. The FDA has yet to approve any Covid-19 therapies to be administered at home.
The double-blinded, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical study consisted of 32 healthy adult participants who, over 14 days, received two different dose levels. Overall, AT-301 was found to be safe and well-tolerated.
Based partially on FDA input, the company is planning an additional pre-clinical study which it hopes to kick off in the current quarter, following which Atossa will apply to move forward with a Phase 2 trial.
The early-stage data, McCarthy says, suggests AT-301 may prevent viral entry into host cells. AT-301 is intended for this purpose by inhibiting the spike protein activation.
The analyst notes that AT-301’s components could be utilized to form in the nasal cavity a protective mucosal barrier, which could get in the way and stop the activation taking place.
Three human cell surface enzymes – ACE2, furin, and TMPRSS2 – perform the activation and therefore SARS-CoV-2 mutations and variants do not affect it.
“It is relatively unlikely that subsequent mutations and novel strains of COVID-19 will modify this activation process, which is essential for SARS-CoV-2 propagation,” the 5-star analyst noted. “As such, AT-301 administration to patients with mild symptoms as well as prophylactic distribution to high-risk individuals like healthcare workers and teachers could play a role, along with continued vaccine distribution, as a path out of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
ATOS has already collected an impressive 190% share haul so far in 2021. However, according to McCarthy, further share gains are on the horizon.
The analyst reiterated a Buy rating on ATOS shares backed by a $5 price target. Investors are looking at upside of a strong ~85%, should McCarthy’s thesis play out accordingly over the next 12 months. (To watch McCarthy’s track record, click here)
Some stocks fly under the radar, and ATOS is one of those. McCarthy’s is the only recent analyst review of this company, and it is decidedly positive. (See ATOS stock analysis on TipRanks)
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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the featured analyst. The content is intended to be used for informational purposes only. It is very important to do your own analysis before making any investment.