Versant: YM Biosciences Now a 'Speculative Buy'

Apr.10.07 | About: Gilead Sciences, (GILD)

Versant analyst Douglas Loe upgraded his recommendation on YM Biosciences Inc. (YMI) Tuesday, following a recent trip to Cuba, where YM's head and neck cancer treatment, the nimotuzumab antibody, is being developed.

In a note to clients, Mr. Loe said he remains positive following visits to the Center of Generic Engineering and Biotechnology and the Center for Molecular Immunology in Havana, that nimotuzumab's potential to confer 'efficacy without rash' remains a key point of differentiation from other comparable cancer drugs such as Erbitux and Vectibix.

Although he said larger combination-therapy trials are still required, Mr. Loe increased his rating on YM shares from 'hold' to 'speculative buy' and raised his price target from C$2.50 to C$4.25.

The introduction of revenue projections for nimotuzumab sales in Japan by YM’s partner, Daiichi Pharmaceutical Co., also contributed to the upgrade, he added.

YM, who licenses nimotuzumab in Europe, North America, Japan and the Pacific Rim countries, excluding China, received approval last September to import nimotuzumab into the U.S. for clinical trials in pediatric patients with pontine glioma, an inoperable malignant brain cancer.