Why the Opthea (ASX:OPT) share price is rocketing 12% higher

This biotech share is rocketing higher on Thursday…
The post Why the Opthea (ASX:OPT) share price is rocketing 12% higher appeared first on The Motley Fool Australia. –

The best performer on the All Ordinaries on Thursday has been the Opthea Ltd (ASX: OPT) share price.

In morning trade, the biotechnology company’s shares are up 12% to $1.58.

Why is the Opthea share price rocketing higher?

Investors have been fighting to get hold of the company’s shares in response to an update from rival Clearside Biomedical.

This week, Clearside Biomedical provided an update on the Phase 1/2a trial of its wet age-related macular degeneration (wet AMD) candidate, CLS-AX.

According to the release, the open-label, single dose-escalation study is designed to assess the safety and tolerability of three increasing doses of CLS-AX administered by suprachoroidal injection via Clearside’s SCS Microinjector.

Pleasingly, Clearside Biomedical reported positive safety results from six patients with wet AMD. The release explains the primary endpoints were achieved, with the initial lowest planned dose well tolerated with no serious adverse events and no drug related treatment emergent adverse events observed throughout the study period.

Why is this impacting Opthea?

This news appears to have brought Opthea onto the radar of investors. This is because both companies are developing experimental drugs that target wet AMD. However, Opthea is ahead of Clearside Biomedical in terms of development with its lead candidate, OPT-302. It started treating its first patient in its phase 3 trial in March, following successful phase 2 trials.

OPT-302 is a novel biologic inhibitor of VEGF-C and VEGF-D and a complementary medicine to be used in conjunction with VEGF-A inhibitors for the treatment of wet AMD and also diabetic macular edema (DME). These are markets worth an estimated ~US$13 billion at present.

Is it too late to invest?

One broker that still sees a lot of value in the Opthea share price is Goldman Sachs.

Goldman currently has the company on its conviction buy list with a price target of $4.70. Based on the current Opthea share price, this implies potential upside of ~200%.

Commenting on OPT-302, it said: “As successful as current treatments have been, they only inhibit up to two of the factors responsible for the retinal disease (VEGF-A/B). Over half of patients do not achieve significant vision gains, and a quarter experience continued vision loss.”

“OPT-302 is intended for use in combination with these treatments, blocking a further two factors (VEGF-C/D), hence targeting improved outcomes via a more complete blockade. We currently forecast non-risk-adjusted peak sales of US$5.3bn (US$2.3bn risk-adjusted), of which US$3.6bn relates to wAMD (US$2.0bn),” it added.

The post Why the Opthea (ASX:OPT) share price is rocketing 12% higher appeared first on The Motley Fool Australia.

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James Mickleboro does not own any shares mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia’s parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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