At its January FOMC meeting, the Federal Reserve held interest rates steady – they are near rock-bottom now, and to no one’s surprise, the Fed is keeping them there. Fed Chairman Jerome Powell may have fed some market pessimism when he spoke after the meeting, and pointed out that unemployment, which has been rising in recent months. For market watchers seeking support, there is solace in the Fed’s monetary policy. The central bank is committed to buying $80 billion monthly in Treasury notes, and has put a rate increase on hold, likely until 2023. At least one top strategist sees the current market environment in terms of opportunity. JPMorgan strategist Marko Kolanovic takes a bullish stance, writing, “We expect the global COVID pandemic to decline rapidly in the coming weeks. In fact, the pace of decline in new cases over the last 2 weeks is the highest on record both in the US and globally… Central Banks should remain accommodative given the elevated unemployment levels and over a decade of low inflation running below their targets… Short-term turmoil, such as the one this week, are opportunities to rotate from bonds to equities.” Taking this outlook into consideration, we set out to find exciting opportunities that won’t break the bank, namely penny stocks. These stocks, priced at $5 or less, offer investors some of the highest growth potential available in the market. There is risk here, too, as the ‘pennies’ are often priced low for a reason, so due diligence is essential. Using TipRanks’ database, we identified two penny stocks that have earned a “Strong Buy” consensus rating from the analyst community. Not to mention each offers up massive upside potential, as some analysts see them climbing to $11. BioLineRx, Ltd. (BLRX) We’ll start with BioLineRx, a clinical stage biopharma company focused on developing new cancer treatments. Oncology is a major field for cutting edge biopharmas. Cancer is frequently deadly, and frequently resistant to current treatments – and those treatments themselves will frequently cause severe side effects in patients. BioLineRx has an active pipeline of drug candidates, but the most advanced is motixafortide, a synthetic peptide which has completed patient enrollment in a Phase 3 study on stem cell mobilization for autologous bone-marrow transplantation. The drug is being studied for its efficacy in promoting the harvesting of bone marrow prior to the cancer treatment. Results from a pre-planned interim analysis showed ‘statistically significant evidence favoring treatment with motixafortide in the primary endpoint,’ evidence which was so significant that the enrollment was completed early, with 122 patients instead of 177. Stem cell mobilization, using motixafortide, is seen as the company’s most efficient path to registering the new drug for regulatory approval. Based on the potential of motixafortide and the $2.40 share price, some analysts think that now is the time to pull the trigger. Covering BLRX for Oppenheimer, 5-star analyst Mark Breidenbach noted, “Our thesis remains centered on motixafortide in stem cell mobilization, and we see a disconnect between the company’s market capitalization and motixafortide’s market opportunity as a stem cell mobilizer. Key GENESIS secondary endpoints are expected by mid-2021, and we see little risk heading into these data…” The analyst added, “We believe results from the Phase 3 GENESIS trial could spur the majority of transplant physicians to choose BL-8040 over Mozobil to combine with G-CSF if the drug is approved. Upside to our thesis includes BL-8040 for use in other auto-HSCTs, allo-HSCTs, AML, and solid tumors. The company boasts a catalyst-rich, deep oncology pipeline that has attracted collaborations with Novartis, Merck, and Genentech.” Given all of the above, Breidenbach rates BLRX as a Buy, and his $11 price target suggests a whopping 358% upside for the year ahead. (To watch Breidenbach’s track record, click here) The rest of the Street appears to echo Breidenbach’s bullish sentiment. As it has racked up 3 Buys and no Holds or Sells, the consensus is unanimous: BLRX is a Strong Buy. Adding to the good news, the upside potential lands at ~428% based on the $12.67 average price target. (See BLRX stock analysis on TipRanks) Kindred Biosciences (KIN) While most biotech companies focus on human medications, we are not the only market. Kindred biosciences is biopharmaceutical company in the veterinary market, developing biologic medications to improve the lives of our pets and working animals. The company describes its mission as ‘[bringing] to pets the same kinds of safe and effective medicines that human family members enjoy.’ Parvovirus (CPV) is a highly infectious, and highly lethal, viral disease affecting dogs. While vaccines are available, untreated cases can see upwards of 91% mortality. Kindred’s main pipeline drug, KIND-030 is under development as a treatment for this disease. Currently, the drug candidate is following two paths in the development process – one for treatment of established infections, and one as a prophylactic preventative treatment for CPV. The prophylactic study has shown positive results, with treated dogs all avoiding infection, while all dogs in the placebo group developed parvovirus disease. KIND-030 also showed a mortality benefit when given as a treatment for infection. The drug candidate is in the pivotal study stage of development, the last before potential approval. Last month, Kindred announced that it had entered an agreement with Elanco Animal Health – a major manufacturer of veterinary medicines – for production of KIND-030. Cantor analyst Brandon Folkes sees plenty of potential in Kindred, especially in the company’s agreement with Elanco. “A partnership with a leading animal health company, in this case Elanco, is exactly what the company needed, in our view. In our view, this validates KIN’s new strategic approach, as a developer of drugs while seeking larger commercial partners. We believe that today’s deal should reinforce to investors that there remains meaningful value in Kindred’s pipeline, which could be realized over the next 12 to 18 months,” Folkes opined. Kindred is also conducting studies of Tirnovetmab, or KIND-016, an antibody targeting IL31, in the treatment of atopic dermatitis in dogs. The pivotal efficacy study of this drug started in the last quarter of 2020. There is a potentially huge market for a successful dermatitis treatment for canines; in the last six years, there has been a 47% increase in vet visits for dogs with severe itchy skin, and the market is estimated at $900 million or more. “While 2020 has been a tough year for KIN stock, the company continues to have multiple shots on goal from its diversified pipeline that could reward investors from the current levels. With multiple readouts in 2021, and the renewed sole focus on development of its pipeline we expect 2021 could be a banner year for KIN should it be able to deliver on the promise of its pipeline, and in particular the atopic dermatitis portfolio,” the analyst summed up. To this end, Folkes gives KIN an $11 price target, implying a 139% upside potential for 2021, and an Overweight (i.e. Buy) rating. (To watch Folkes’ track record, click here) Kindred is another company with a unanimous Strong Buy analyst consensus, this one based on 5 recent Buy reviews. The stock has an average price target of $10.25, which suggests room for ~124% growth from the current trading price of $4.59. (See KIN stock analysis on TipRanks) To find good ideas for penny stocks trading at attractive valuations, visit TipRanks’ Best Stocks to Buy, a newly launched tool that unites all of TipRanks’ equity insights. Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the featured analysts. The content is intended to be used for informational purposes only. It is very important to do your own analysis before making any investment.
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