With a market cap of just $133 million as of 9/6/13, Neuralstem, Inc. (CUR) appears to be under the radar of many investors at the moment. The company is working on breakthrough stem cell treatments that would give them access to billion dollar markets, perhaps sooner than many anticipate. The highlight of these potential billion dollar markets is NSI-566 being tested for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) patients whom have already started in Phase II trials, though the company has not yet announced this important milestone to the public! (as of 9/8/13) I anticipate a press release in the coming week. In addition, they have an arrangement with the NFL Alumni Association to determine whether NSI-189 may prove useful for traumatic brain injury which could be potentially high profile and has the potential to be funded through external entities. Even without the traumatic brain injury trials, NSI-189 may lead Neuralstem into treatment for billion dollar markets including depression.
The goal of this article is to help raise awareness among potential investors of the incredible research being performed at Neuralstem and to point out why Neuralstem may significantly increase in price by the time we celebrate New Years Day in 2014. At the very least, Neuralstem deserves consideration in the speculative part of your portfolio.
Neuralstem, founded in 1996, is headquartered in Rockville, MD, just outside of Washington D.C. The company has a lead cell therapy candidate, NSI-566, that is being used in trials to treat Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, chronic Spinal Cord Injury (cSCI), and ischemic stroke. This cell therapy platform may also be useful in targeting glioblastoma (brain cancer) and Huntington disease among other applications. In addition, the company is currently evaluating NSI-189, a neurogenic small molecule compound, for the treatment of Major Depressive Disorder (MDD). If successful, Neuralstem has already identified additional indications for the drug which may include traumatic brain injury, Alzheimer's disease, and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Additional details of Neuralstem's tests and results will be covered in later sections within this article.
Neuralstem management is led by knowledgeable individuals with ties to the local area such as Chief Scientific Officer Karl Johe. Dr. Johe served with the National Institute of Health (NIH) in Bethesda from 1993 until January 1997. Dr. Johe is credited with being the inventor of human neural stem cell technology. In addition to Dr. Johe, Neuralstem's CEO, Richard Garr, has been leading the company since 1996. Mr. Garr communicates consistently with the public via the CEO's blog. As anyone who invests in biotechs regularly knows, good communications from the company are essential for investors and for public knowledge.
Before discussing why Neuralstem's research is so exciting, it's essential to take a few moments to understand the severity of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), In the United States, this disease is also known as Lou Gehrig's Disease, named after the talented former New York Yankee who retired because of the disease and died soon after. This article will explore the lack of options, and hope, available to those who suffer from the disease.
The brain sends messages to the body's muscles by utilizing upper and lower motor neurons. In a healthy body, messages from nerve cells in the brain (upper motor neurons) are transmitted to nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord (lower motor neurons). Lower motor neurons are connected to muscles throughout the body. Lower motor neurons control movement in the arms, legs, chest, face, throat, and tongue. In patients who suffer from ALS, there is a progressive degeneration of motor neurons. When motor neurons die, the brain loses the ability to initiate and control muscle movement, something healthy individuals undoubtedly take for granted on a daily basis. When muscles no longer receive messages from the lower motor neurons, muscles begin to atrophy (become smaller in size). Indeed, the word a-myo-trophic comes from the Greek language. "A" means no. "Myo" means muscle. "Trophic" means nourishment. Thus, ALS means that the muscles do not receive the necessary nourishment as a result of the disease as demonstrated in the image below (please see the link above for source of image).
Due to the atrophy in their muscles, many ALS patients eventually struggle to breath and often require assistance via a machine. Most ALS patients die from respiratory failure. Statistics show that 50% of ALS patients die within 18 months after diagnosis. Only 20% of ALS patients live five years, and 10% live longer than ten years (often with the help of a machine).
How Common is ALS?
Let's take a look at some statistics demonstrating the prevalence of the disease both within the U.S. and worldwide. ALS is estimated to impact up to 30,000 people in the United States at any given time with about 5,000 new cases each year. It's estimated that there are approximately 120,000 cases of ALS diagnosed worldwide each year. The disease can be costly with advanced stages costing an average of $200,000 per year!
Existing and Potential Markets for ALS Treatments
For the treatment of ALS, the first and only approved drug on the market is Sanofi's Rilutek. Annual treatment costs are approximately $7000-$10,000 and the market is worth about $300 million (2008). However, Rilutek offers only a marginal improvement in survival, extending life by about 60-90 days. The drug offers no improvement in the quality of the patient's life. If a drug could increase survival and enhance quality of life, it's anticipated that the drug would have greater market penetration and would be priced at a premium. Some estimates for a more effective drug place the market at $2 to $4 billion annually! The assumptions in this analysis are included in the above link. If a drug proved to be even more effective by expanding survival beyond two additional years (as assumed in the estimate above), the market for an effective ALS drug could exceed even these amounts!
The dearth of ALS drugs on the market is not for lack of effort. Biogen Idec, Inc. (BIIB), toward the beginning of 2013, became a spectacular failure with its phase III trial of dexpramipexole. It was estimated that had the drug been successful, the market may have topped $1 billion per year. Other failed ALS treatments include (SNY) Sanofi's xaliproden which was pulled from the regulatory process following poor phase III results as well as (JNJ) Johnson & Johnson's Topamax which had such serious side effects that the trial was brought to a close.
Neuralstem's Potential Treatment for ALS: NSI-566
During 2013, Neuralstem completed its Phase I trial for the treatment of ALS. The trial had the primary objective of establishing whether its NSI-566 human spinal cord stem cells could safely be injected into an ALS patient. The trial examined the safety of both the actual cells and the procedure to transplant them. The primary outcome measure was the incidence of adverse events among the patient population. Secondary outcome measures including a variety of tools to help the clinical trial team assess whether NSI-566 could potentially be effective in treating ALS. Secondary measures included muscle strength testing, pain assessments, and quality of life assessments.
Was Phase I for NSI-566 successful? Eva Feldman, Principal Investigator, had the following to say
With the transplantation of these neural stem cells, we are exploring a paradigm shift in the treatment of ALS. We have demonstrated that intraspinal transplantation is feasible and well-tolerated. Although this phase of the trial was not powered to demonstrate efficacy, we appear to have interrupted the progression of the disease in one subgroup of patients. We are anxious to move to future trial phases to examine therapeutic efficacy.
The study ultimately enrolled 15 patients. The primary measure of the Phase I trial was indeed satisfied. In reviewing the safety of NSI-566, Neuralstem concluded that there were no complications related to cell delivery (Investor Presentation - August 2013). In addition, there was no toxicity related to the cells.
Investigators believe the limited Phase I trials showed promise for secondary outcome measures as well. The FDA limited the number of stem cells permitted during Phase I, with the maximum being 15 injections of 100,000 cells each. Of the 15 trial participants enrolled in the study location, Emory University, six trial participants showed very encouraging signs. For 700-850 days post-surgery, these six participants, "have a stable, very slowly progressing or improved disease course," according to Feldman. This news is rather impressive given the disease progression discussed earlier in this article.
As Feldman indicated, the data shows that NSI-566 was effective with a specific subgroup of patients. ALS patients can either have limb-onset ALS or bulbar ALS. Bulbar ALS is a type of ALS where speaking and swallowing difficulties are the first symptoms, and Bulbar ALS patients typically experience a faster disease progression when compared to limb-onset ALS patients. Limb-onset ALS patients may eventually develop bulbar symptoms as the disease advances. All six patients who showed encouraging signs are considered limb-onset ALS patients. All six patients also received treatment early in the course of the disease (approximately two years after onset of symptoms). Of the 15 patients, nine did not respond to treatment. Eight of the nine patients either had bulbar ALS or advanced disease of at least five years (remember, many ALS patients don't last five years). The results are clear - NSI-566 appears to be more effective, at least in these doses, in patients in an earlier stage of the disease and to those who do not have bulbar symptoms.
In April 2013, Neuralstem received approval from the FDA to begin Phase II trials. The trials will be conducted at three locations this round, with Neuralstem again using Emory University Hospital in Georgia, as it did in the Phase I trial, as well as two new locations, the ALS Clinic at the University of Michigan Health System and Massachusetts General Hospital. Mr. Garr mentioned the third site, Massachusetts General Hospital, as a likely addition in a recent blog but noted Neuralstem has not yet finalized the agreement. Neuralstem has indicated that Emory announced a significant NIH grant was received which should cover a majority of Phase II trial costs! I anticipate funding to continue if trials continue to show progress.
I'm pleased to announce for the first time on Seeking Alpha as well as prior to any official company press release that Neuralstem's phase II trial has already started! According to the twitter account of Beth Galvin, a reporter out of Atlanta where Emory University Hospital is located, the first patient was treated last week. The second patient in the Phase II trial is expected to be treated at the University of Michigan next week. Beth provided the below picture of this exciting news:
(click to enlarge)
The Phase II trial is designed to treat up to 15 patients whom may advance up to a maximum of 40 injections and 400,000 cells per injection based on safety. The primary objective is to determine the feasibility, toxicity, and maximum tolerated (safe) dose of human spinal cord-derived neural stem cell transplantation for the treatment of ALS. The secondary objectives of the study are to evaluate spinal stem cell transplantation therapy in this patient population for: 1) attenuation of motor function loss; 2) maintenance of respiratory capacity; 3) stabilization of the ALS Functional Rating Scale - Revised (ALSFRS-R); 4) reduction of spasticity/rigidity if present; and 5) graft survival at autopsy if and when there is mortality. The ALS Functional Rating Scale will assist with identifying whether the patients are able to maintain certain bodily functions or whether they deteriorate during the course of the study. It evaluates functions such as speech, swallowing, handwriting, walking, and breathing.
The 15 patients to be treated during the Phase II trial will all be ambulatory ALS patients. Ambulatory ALS patients are those that are capable of walking, and they are usually in the earlier stages of the disease. Given the results from Phase I, it is not likely a coincidence that the focus will be on ambulatory patients who seemed to have the greatest benefit from treatments. In addition, a greater focus will be given to injections in the upper spine. The upper spine is critical because this may impact muscles controlling the lungs. As discussed in detail earlier, respiratory problems is one of the biggest challenges facing ALS patients. Given the focus on patients in earlier stages, and the focus on respiratory improvement, the promise of positive results from Phase II trials is quite exciting!
What about the length of the trial? Mr. Garr recently pointed out in a blog that, "Finally, it was noted that the FDA has approved a trial designed to considerably increase both the dose escalation throughout the trial and the pace of the treatments." He continued, "...it is hoped that this new timing flexibility will allow us to finish the trial in less than half the time it took to complete the first trial." Mr. Garr specified that, "Now we hope to complete our Phase II trial in just 18 months at multiple world-class centers." With the trials already having begun, there is potential it could be completed in the 1st or 2nd quarter of 2015. Could Neuralstem receive accelerated approval in the event NSI-566 is deemed safe and shows signs of increased efficacy due to delivery of larger quantities of NSI-566 in this trial? The ALS community has certainly made it clear to the FDA that they believe current processes are slowing down the hunt for a more effective treatment. The FDA seems to be listening given that it granted Neuralstem some freedom in the Phase II trials. If the Phase II results were to demonstrate increased scores, post-treatment, in the ALSFRS-R, or even stabilization across a long period of time, something uncommon in ALS, the FDA would have a hard time convincing the ALS community that they should wait several more years while ALS victims continue to struggle to breath and have a deteriorating quality of life.
It's also worth noting that Neuralstem has been granted orphan drug status by the FDA for the treatment of ALS with its human spinal cord derived neural stem cells (NSI-566). Regarding this benefit, Mr. Garr stated the following, "Congress passed the Orphan Drug Act because it recognized that adequate drugs for many rare disease have not been developed. The designation of our spinal cord stem cells as an orphan drug underscores the importance of developing effective treatments for patients with ALS. In addition to providing a seven-year term or market exclusivity for our stem cells for ALS upon FDA approval, Orphan Drug Designation also positions Neuralstem to take advantage of certain financial and regulatory benefits, including government grants for conducting trials, waiver of FDA user fees for the submission of a Biologics License Application for NSI-566, and certain tax credits. It is an important step forward for the company."
All About Ted
It's impossible to write an interesting article on Neuralstem's NSI-566 without discussing Ted... not the teddy bear from the movies, but Ted Harada, a patient in the Phase I trial.
(click to enlarge)
Mr. Harada was diagnosed with ALS in August of 2010. Doctors were witnessing deteriorating conditions in Mr. Harada. He became tired just from walking to the mailbox, required a cane to move, and he struggled to open a Ziploc bag. He received his first injection of 1,000,000 cells of NSI-566 in his lower spinal cord in March 2011. He received a second injection of 500,000 cells in his upper spinal cord (cervical) in August 2012. How did he respond to treatments? Mr. Harada started walking without a cane, showed increased dexterity, regained the ability to climb stairs, and he even completed a 2.5-mile fund raising ALS walk in Atlanta! Mr. Harada has served as a bit of a hero for ALS treatment after his participation in the trials concluded. He is currently scheduled to be a speaker at the upcoming Stem Cells & Regerative Medicine Congress in Cambrdige, MA, beginning September 30th. The attendee list is stacked with major names in the stem cell & regenerative medicine sector, and this is a great opportunity for Mr. Harada to bring attention to Neuralstem's NSI-566. Neuralstem CEO Richard Garr is also scheduled to speak on Day 1, offering an update on Neuralstem's Phase II trials for ALS patients.
I should note that not everyone is convinced that Mr. Harada's recovery was a result of NSI-566. Critics argue that his response was generated too quickly after receiving treatment such that the stem cells would not have had time to make an impact. The response, some say, may have been generated from immunosuppressant drugs that Mr. Harada used as part of the trials. Could the anesthetics received during his surgeries have contributed to his recovery? At this point, no one knows the answer. Everyone does seem to agree that further testing is necessary to determine whether NSI-566 can be effective. However, did Neuralstem simply get really lucky when it selected Ted Harada for trials? I find that hard to believe. On top of that, Mr. Harada was not the only patient to show benefit from treatment, he was just the most notable.
To conclude this section on ALS, the results speak for themselves. Although trials only focused on 15 patients, the results among limb-onset patients were remarkable and, in the case of Mr. Harada, quite shocking. If Neuralstem sees greater efficacy during Phase II trials, which is possible with higher dosing and a specific subset of ALS patients being tested, Neuralstem could be in control of a multi-billion dollar worldwide market for ALS! Many investors believe biotech stocks realize their largest gains in Phase II testing, as Brian Nichols indicated in a previous Seeking Alpha article. If this is the case, investors may want to get on board now because the Phase II initiation announcement is likely to come next week.
Chronic Spinal Cord Injury and Ischemic Stroke
Since the trials for Chronic Spinal Cord Injury and Ischemic Stroke are not yet underway, I'm only devoting a small portion of the article towards these areas. However, both trials represent more reasons why the market cap for Neuralstem is significantly undervalued. The start of trials, if everything goes as planned, should contribute to the value of the stock.
It's estimated that 7 million Americans have survived a stroke in the U.S. In China, it's estimated that 1,750,000 survive a stroke each year. Approximately 87% of all stroke cases are Ischemic Stroke. The stroke occurs due to obstructions to blood vessels leading to the brain, and the stroke often affects nerve cells in the brain and leads to paralysis in the arms and legs. Neuralstem will conduct a combined Phase I/II trial with collaborator BaYi Brain Hospital in Beijing to find out whether stem cell treatment using NSI-566 can be both safe and effective. Patients have already been recruited (up to 118), and Neuralstem states they expect trials to begin in the 3rd quarter of 2013 (read September?). Patients will receive injections directly into the brain with the goal of rebuilding the patient's neural circuitry lost due to stroke. The trial is expected to last for two years. Tests in animal models demonstrated improvements in motor and neurological functions.
Chronic spinal cord injury is defined as having some level of paralysis that persists for a long duration, usually more than one year following injury. There are approximately 840,000 SCI patients in the U.S. currently, and there are about 10,000 new spinal cord injuries each year. The first 24 hours are dangerous, but about 85% of those that survive beyond 24 hours go to on live longer than ten years. Victims suffer damage to the spinal cord which results in loss of mobility and feeling. Neuralstem has already acquired approval by the FDA to begin Phase I trials to determine whether NSI-566 can help SCI patients. Up to eight patients who have American Spinal Injury Association (ASIA) grade A impairment will be treated in Phase I. Grade A impairment is used for patients that have no motor or sensory functions. The eight patients will receive injections in or around the area of spinal injury. If Neuralstem is able to help these patients in any way, NSI-566 will receive a lot of media attention. The goal for completion is one year. Neuralstem also plans to begin a Phase I in South Korea sometime in the remainder of 2013 for acute spinal cord injury.
Major Depressive Disorder
Another major treatment area for Neuralstem is MDD. MDD is a mental disorder characterized by a pervasive and persistent low mood which is accompanied by low self-esteem and by a loss of interest or pleasure in normally enjoyable activities. The disease adversely affects a person's family, work or school performance, and it has a notable impact on one's sleeping and eating habits. In the United States, about 3.4% of people with major depression commit suicide, and up to 60% of people who commit suicide had depression or another mood disorder. Researchers appear to have identified a relationship between hippocampal volume and MDD. For those who suffer from MDD, smaller hippocampal volume appears common.
How Common is MDD?
MDD is a widespread disease, and the potential for generating revenue in this market is substantial. Each year, about 6.7% of U.S. adults experience MDD. Worldwide, depression impacts an estimated 121 million! How much is this market worth? In 2008, the antidepressant market reached sales of almost $11 billion!
Neuralstem's Potential Treatment for MDD: NSI-189
Neuralstem's lead drug candidate for MDD is NSI-189. In animal model studies, NSI-189 has been shown to provide new neuron growth in the hippocampus as well as to provide increased hippocampal volume. Neuralstem conducted a Phase Ia study in 41 healthy volunteers for purposes of establishing the safety of the orally administered drug.
Neuralstem's Phase Ib trial, approved by the FDA in December 2011, commenced in June 2012. The trial includes 24 depressed patients who were placed into one of three cohorts. There is a total of eight patients within each cohort. Of the eight, six received treatment and two received a placebo. Each cohort received NSI-189 over a 28 day period with the dose increasing in later cohorts. The first cohort received 40mg once daily, the second cohort received 40mg twice daily, and the third cohort received 40mg three times daily. Approval was required as doses escalated, with the FDA approving the third and final cohort in April 2013. Results from the Phase Ib trial are expected in the in the 2nd half of 2013, according to a company publication released in August. The company needs to complete a two month recovery follow-up which includes an MRI to monitor whether any changes have occurred in hippocampal volume.
Neuralstem has already started discussing partnerships related to NSI-189 for Phase II and Phase III studies as well as commercialization. They have hired Locust Walk Partners to assist with brokering a deal, and Neuralstem claims negotiations are currently underway.
NSI-189, if it proves successful in increasing hippocampal volume, can be tested in other applications as well. The company has identified the following applications (partial list only), which would start as Phase II trials now that the safety of NSI-189 has been established, that can all add to the market cap in the coming quarters:
- Alzheimer's Disease - impacting 5.4 million in the U.S.
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) - impacting 7.7 million in the U.S.
- Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) - impacting 1.7 million annually
Trials for TBI lead into my next discussion....
Neuralstem and the NFL
The NFL captured negative headlines in May 2012 when former star linebacker Junior Seau, formerly of the San Diego Chargers, committed suicide. Seau, as well as former NFL player Dave Duerson, shot themselves in the chest which allowed their brains to be studied. Both players were subsequently identified as having Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), a disease that can only be definitively diagnosed postmortem, which is common in individuals with a history of multiple concussions and other forms of head injury. The disease is often tied to professional wrestling, football, boxing, and other such activities involving heavy contact. Individuals with CTE have symptoms of memory loss, aggression, and depression which often occur years after the trauma to the brain.
(click to enlarge) Photo used from ESPN
The NFL, coincidentally just as the season was about to start, reached a settlement with over 4000 former players worth approximately $765 million. Of this total, $10 million will be set aside for research and education. Despite this settlement, the NFL now finds themselves in another lawsuit from former players. The issue of brain injury is not going to go away anytime soon for the NFL. Further, one has to consider whether college players will start to step up to the plate as well and begin to file suits against colleges and the NCAA who have earned billions at the expense of players.
Neuralstem may be in a position to capitalize on the attention of what has been one of the sports world's biggest stories in 2013. Neuralstem believes NSI-189 may be useful in addressing TBI. In order to determine whether TBI can be treated, Neuralstem has reached an agreement with the NFL Alumni Association. The NFL Alumni Association has sent a letter to thousands of former players to alert them about the potential of NSI-189, and players seem interested! The players would be part of one of the "direct to Phase II" trials discussed above.
One question I have to ask is, "Can Neuralstem expect to receive funding from third parties such as the NFL?" I should point out that an agreement with the NFL Alumni Association is not an agreement with the NFL as these are separate entities. The NFL Players Association is also independent from the NFL Alumni Association. Given that Neuralstem has ties to the NFL Alumni Association, I believe they could receive consideration for some of the $10 million dedicated to research and education from the recent settlement. I should also point out that the NFL does donate money to research as well. The league has donated $30 million to the NIH.
In one of his regular blogs, Neuralstem CEO Richard Garr had some interesting comments which compared the NFL to the tobacco industry:
I believe we were at a similar point in the story on brain trauma. The football industry had taken a page out of the tobacco industry's playbook. The NFL had done exactly the same thing, questioning the newly discovered links as early-stage research and emphasizing all of the "still" unknowns; they then pledged over a hundred million dollars (over ten years) to various "long-term" research efforts; all creating an impression that we really didn't know anything about this area yet.
Like many, I love the NFL, but the league needs to ensure it does everything in its power to protect the dedicated players who go out to the field each week so they can live a long and happy life beyond their mid 30's. In my opinion, Neuralstem is in a prime position to receive further funding for TBI from entities including the NFL, the NFL Alumni Association, and even the NIH. Further, even if they need to fund the trials themselves, Neuralstem has the opportunity to conduct a trial that would receive significant media attention due to the involvement of former NFL players. This is big and doesn't appear to be captured in the current share price.
Some writers and analysts are slowly taking notice of the work being performed at Neuralstem. During a recent interview with The Life Sciences Report, Michael Berry, publisher of Morning Notes, had the following to say about Neuralstem, "Neuralstem now has tenbagger discovery potential. The company is advancing on several stem cell fronts. There seem to be indications of efficacy and safety of the company's therapies in several applications, including ALS, ischemic and chronic stroke, and possibly major depressive disorder. These quality-of-life markets are huge, multibillion-dollar and global, and Neuralstem has little or no competition in these markets at present."
In January of 2013, Aegis Capital Corp. raised its price target from $3.50 to $4.00 per share. In August 2013, Aegis Capital Corp. reiterated a Buy rating and its 12 month $4.00 per share price target. Aegis noted that Neuralstem closed the second quarter (ended 6/30/13) with $11.2 million in cash and equivalents which Aegis "anticipates to be sufficient to fund operations well into 2014." In the past week, Neuralstem announced another key development related to financing. Neuralstem entered into agreements with investors for a registered direct placement of 2,535,000 shares of stock at a price of $1.60 per share. They raised just over $4 million as a result of the deal. Also worth noting is that the investors will receive warrants to purchase additional shares with an exercise price of $2. Could this be a sign that Neuralstem, and these investors, believe that coming catalysts may push the price over the $2 mark? We may see shares pass that mark in the coming week with Neuralstem CEO Richard Garr set to speak at the 2013 Rodman & Renshaw Annual Healthcare Conference on September 10th.
As discussed earlier, Neuralstem is interested in partnerships for, at a minimum, its NSI-189 treatment for MDD. This product has multiple indications and billion dollar potential. If the company's Phase II trials for ALS show NSI-566 to be effective, I anticipate several large pharmaceuticals who have attempted to identify an ALS solution in the past, such as Biogen, Sanofi, or Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), to begin conducting discussions with Neuralstem.
Before closing, I do want to acknowledge that this is a development stage biotech company and, as such, investors should recognize the risk associated with such an investment and perform their own research accordingly. Neuralstem has competitors including Brainstorm Cell Therapeutics (OTCQB:BCLI) which is researching ALS and StemCells, Inc. (STEM) which is researching spinal cord injury. However, I really do like what I'm seeing from Neuralstem and wanted to offer sources of research for interested readers. Stem cell research is big right now with companies such as NeoStem, Inc.(NBS) making big gains in recent months. The stock appears to be gaining momentum, and the market cap should increase in the coming months as investors learn about Neuralstem and the excellent risk/reward ratio presented currently. With a share price of $1.85 on 9/6/13, I anticipate Neuralstem to gain momentum for the remainder of 2013 and to demonstrate gains in the coming months. I believe the $4 price target by Aegis represents a fair goal. If MDD trials are successful and they find a partner, this price target may be low. If MDD trials fail, on-going Phase II ALS trials combined with the initiation of stroke and spinal cord injury trials should offset the negative news and continue to serve as a driver for the stock. Neuralstem is definitely deserving of your consideration if your looking for bargains in the biotech industry!
Additional disclosure: I am long CUR. I have no short or long positions in any other stock mentioned in this article. This is not investment advice, and I am not a broker so please conduct your own research prior to investing.