The world’s focus has zeroed in on healthcare companies. Hardly a surprising turn of events in these pandemic driven times. The search for a treatment or vaccine for COVID-19 has thrust into the limelight a host of smaller operators, who otherwise would have most likely remained under the wider public’s radar. The latest to join the race for a viable treatment is nano-cap Atossa Genetics (ATOS).
Last week, shares of Atossa shot up by 35% following a launch announcement of a drug development program for COVID-19, called COVID-19 HOPE (AT-H201).
The program consists of a combination of two undisclosed drugs already approved by the FDA for other diseases. The goal is to develop a therapy which will reduce the amount of time COVID-19 patients are on ventilators by improving lung function. Due to the large number of COVID-19 patients needing mechanical ventilation, hospitals are facing ventilator shortages, an issue Atossa hopes to solve with its novel offering.
The company has filed provisional patent applications for the treatment and plans to apply to the FDA for approval to begin a clinical study under the Coronavirus Treatment Acceleration Program.
Performing similarly to how antibodies against the virus would after a patient is vaccinated or immune, the purpose of AT-H201 is to block the ability of the virus to enter the target cells by mimicking the function of the antibodies formed from a vaccine.
Maxim’s Jason McCarthy applauds Atossa’s “differentiated approach.” The analyst reiterated a Buy on ATOS along with a $4 price target, which implies an impressive 90% should the analyst’s target be met over the next 12 months. (To watch McCarthy’s track record, click here)
McCarthy said, “The COVID pandemic needs testing, therapeutics and a vaccine. In reality, an effective vaccine is likely 12-18+ months away, and that would still be incredibly fast, in our view… As such having adequate testing and therapeutics which can ‘blunt’ the pandemic is critical, and all options are on the table.” (See Atossa stock analysis on TipRanks)