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Arcturus to Develop Therapeutic Aerosol for Cystic Fibrosis Lung Disease

Arcturus plans to develop a therapeutic aerosol to treat cystic fibrosis lung disease.

Biopharma Arcturus (ARCT) - Get Arcturus Therapeutics Holdings, Inc. Report on Wednesday said it would develop a therapeutic aerosol as a candidate to treat the hereditary lung disease cystic fibrosis.

Arcturus shares have wavered on Wednesday, trading up as much as nearly 12% and down as much as 0.8%. At last check they'd risen 1.5% to $43.

On Tuesday, Arcturus shares lost half their market value as three analysts cut their ratings on the biopharma after a disappointing progress report on its coronavirus vaccine candidate.

Arcturus said it has selected ARCT-032, an aerosolized mRNA-based therapeutic candidate, for development specifically for cystic fibrosis lung disease.

The drug "has the potential to address the root cause of CF lung disease, which is caused by the defective, or missing, CFTR protein,” Pad Chivukula, chief scientific officer and chief operating officer of Arcturus Therapeutics, said in a statement.

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“While there has been progress with the recent approval of drugs for CF, many patients remain underserved.

"ARCT-032 has the potential to provide benefit to all CF patients, regardless of their underlying genetic mutations." 

On Tuesday, Barclays analyst Gena Wang slashed her rating on the stock to equal weight from overweight and lowered her price target to $46 from $68.

"We expect high risk” for clearance of the company’s ARCT-021 coronavirus vaccine after the lackluster Phase 1/2 interim clinical data, she wrote.

Piper Sandler analyst Yasmeen Rahimi wrote that ARCT-021 demonstrated “clean safety but underwhelming immunogenicity with disappointing neutralizing titers,” Bloomberg reported.

On the other hand, he said he was “compelled” by the promising preclinical results supporting T-cell-driven efficacy, and he remains optimistic about Arcturus’ mRNA technology.