AIM-listed specialist drug discovery and development company ImmuPharma has been out of favour with investors recently and the shares are languishing at close to all-time lows. It may be that investors have found better short-term opportunities elsewhere in recent months given market conditions as, contrary to what the what the charts may suggest, the company has done nothing to disappoint. There was a placing in September at 11p per share and the chance to buy in now at a discount to that level looks very tempting.
ImmuPharma is a specialty biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery and development of peptide-based therapeutics. It has operations in the UK, France and Switzerland, with a formal research collaboration with the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique in France. A partnership-based business model means that there is a small core of full time staff and a low cost base.
The company has a portfolio which includes novel peptide therapeutics for autoimmune diseases, metabolic diseases, anti-infectives and cancer. The lead program, Lupuzor, is a first-in-class autophagy immunomodulator which is in Phase 3 for the treatment of lupus. Preclinical analysis suggest therapeutic activity for many other autoimmune diseases that share the same autophagy mechanism of action. In November 2019 ImmuPharma and Avion Pharmaceuticals signed an exclusive licence and development agreement and trademark agreement for Lupuzor, to fund a new international Phase 3 trial for Lupuzor and commercialise in the US.
The last piece of meaningful news from the company was on 9 February when an update on the new optimised international Phase 3 trial of Lupuzor in systemic lupus erythematosus, which is a potentially life-threatening auto-immune disease, was released. Lupuzor continues to progress towards the commencement of the international Phase 3 trial with Avion Pharmaceuticals. The Phase 3 study remains on schedule for the second half of 2021.
It is surprising that the shares are at such a low level by historical standards and the company will surely attract some interest in the coming months. Final results are due out in the near future although, given the company’s stage of development, these are likely to be fairly pedestrian. Nevertheless, some attention may be drawn to the shares at what looks to be a bargain price. Our share tip for ImmuPharma is SPECULATIVE BUY.