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Altimmune (ALT) Begins Phase II Study for Chronic Hepatitis B

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Altimmune, Inc. (ALT - Free Report) announced that it has enrolled the first patient in a phase II study evaluating its novel peptide-based immunotherapeutic, HepTcell, for the treatment of chronic hepatitis B (“CHB”), a serious liver infection.

Share of Altimmune were up 2.7% following the announcement of the news on Wednesday. In fact, the stock has skyrocketed 497.9% in the past year, compared with the industry’s increase of 1.8%..

price chart for ALT

The double-blind, placebo-controlled, multinational study will evaluate 80 adult patients with HBeAg-negative inactive CHB and HBsAg ≤ 100 IU/mL, and is being conducted across the United States, Canada and Europe.

Per the press release, in the study, HepTcell will be given in six doses at four-week intervals for a total of 24 weeks, with a one-year follow up to evaluate safety and durability of response in patients who receive HepTcell. The primary efficacy endpoint of the study is to check the virological response, defined as a 1-log reduction in HBsAg levels from baseline at 24 weeks of treatment. Meanwhile, secondary efficacy endpoints include reactivation of anti-HBV T cell responses, HBsAg clearance, as well as other virologic responses.

Per the World Health Organization, an estimated 292 million people are affected by CHB globally out of which around 900,000 people die from the disease annually. Currently, only antiviral medicines are available to control the disease and CHB patients require life-long treatment. If left untreated, CHB can lead to serious health issues including cirrhosis, liver failure and liver cancer.There is no cure for CHB, hence if successfully developed for the given indication and upon potential approval, HepTcell can serve a market with significantly unmet medical need.

We note that Altimmune is engaged in developing intranasal vaccines, immune modulating therapies and treatments for liver disease.

Apart from HepTcell, the company’s pipeline includes AdCOVID, its intranasal vaccine for COVID-19 infection; NasoShield, a vaccine for anthrax; NasoVAX, a vaccine for influenza; T-COVID, an intranasal immune modulatingtherapy for COVID-19 and ALT-801, a next-generation peptide therapeutics for the treatment of nonalcoholic steatohepatitis.

Zacks Rank & Stocks to Consider

Altimmune currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Some better-ranked stocks in the same sector include BioLineRx Ltd. (BLRX - Free Report) , Ironwood Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (IRWD - Free Report) and Sierra Oncology, Inc. (SRRA - Free Report) , all sporting a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) at present. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

BioLineRx’s loss per share estimates have narrowed 28.7% for 2020 and 41.7% for 2021 over the past 60 days.The stock has increased 13.3% in the past year.

Ironwood’s earnings estimates have moved 30.7% and 23.6% north for 2020 and 2021, respectively, over the past 60 days.

Sierra Oncology’s loss per share estimates have narrowed 11.3% for 2020 and 4.4% for 2021 over the past 60 days. The stock has rallied 16.7% in the past year.

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