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2 “Strong Buy” Penny Stocks That Could See Outsized Gains

Well, it’s official. Joe Biden is now President, and he’ll be backed – at least for the short term – by Democratic majorities in both Houses of Congress. Wall Street is taking the measure of the new Administration, and sees, among its first moves, a boost in fiscal stimulus that is likely to goose consumer spending, bump corporate profits, and provide general economic support in the first half of 2021. Covering the situation for Goldman Sachs is investment strategist David Kostin, who is bullish on the near-term prospects for fiscal stimulus. In light of it, Kostin sets the Goldman outlook for this year at 6.4% GDP growth; he sees continued high growth next year, and sets the 2022 prediction at 4%. These outlook numbers are up from the previously published 5.9% and 3.7%. To this end, Kostin sees S&P 500 reaching 4,300 by year’s end, which would be a gain of 12% from current levels. “Elections have consequences. Democratic control of Washington, D.C. after January 20 will bring greater fiscal spending, faster GDP growth, more inflation, and higher interest rates than we had previously assumed,” Kostin noted. With markets looking up, investors are looking for the stocks that are ready for gains. Penny stocks, equities priced at less than $5 per share, are a natural place to search for potential winners. Their low price means that even a small incremental gain will translate into large percentages. However, before jumping right into an investment in a penny stock, Wall Street pros advise looking at the bigger picture and considering other factors beyond just the price tag. For some names that fall into this category, you really do get what you pay for, offering little in the way of long-term growth prospects thanks to weak fundamentals, recent headwinds or even large outstanding share counts. Taking the risk into consideration, we used TipRanks’ database to find compelling penny stocks with bargain price tags. The platform steered us towards two tickers sporting share prices under $5 and “Strong Buy” consensus ratings from the analyst community. Not to mention substantial upside potential is on the table. AzurRx BioPharma (AZRX) We’ll start with a company specializing in gastrointestinal disease, AzurRx. This company is focused on creating non-systemic, targeted recombinant therapies for GI ailments. AzurRx has a pipeline of three drug candidates, at several levels of the development process. The key pipeline candidate, MS1819, is being investigated as a treatment for exocrine pancreatic insufficiency for patients also suffering from cystic fibrosis. MS1819 is a recombinant lipase, derived from a yeast strain. The drug is designed to target fat molecules in the digestive tract, allowing patients to absorb the broken-down fats for nutritive value. The drug is currently in Phase 2 trials, which are scheduled for completion in the first half of this year. As of January 21, the first two patients in the Phase 2b OPTION 2 extension study have been dosed with the treatment, and the Data Monitoring Committee (DMC) “remains supportive of the program.” In another important development, AzurRx announced earlier this month that it is entering a partnership with First Wave Bio to study oral and rectal formulation of Niclosamide to treat immune checkpoint inhibitor-associated colitis (ICI-AC) and COVID-19 related gastrointestinal infections. The estimated market for Niclosamide as a treatment for COVID-related GI problems exceeds $450 million. Based on multiple potentially significant clinical catalysts as well as its $0.98 share price, several members of the Street think that now is the right time to pull the trigger. Jonathan Aschoff, of Roth Capital, is bullish on AzurRx, basing his longer-term forecasts on the probable success of MS1819. “We base our valuation for AZRX on projected future U.S. sales from MS1819 for the treatment of EPI due to CF and CP, using an initial annual price of about $18,000, a price that is consistent with currently available PERTs. We project MS1819 to be commercialized in the U.S. in 2023, generating sales of $272 million in 2030. Ex-U.S. commercial success for MS1819, or commercial success from the early-stage beta-lactamase program would provide upside to our valuation,” Aschoff noted. The analyst also looks forward to initial clinical results of Niclosamide in COVID-19 GI infection and in ICI-AC potentially, noting: "Niclosamide was FDA approved in 1982 to treat intestinal tapeworm infections and is on the World Health Organization’s list of essential medicines. Given the millions of patients that have taken the drug, the safety profile has largely been established, thereby lowering developmental risk.” Given all of the above, Aschoff rates AZRX as a Buy, and his $7 price target suggests a sky-high 608% upside for the year ahead. (To watch Aschoff’s track record, click here) Overall, the analyst consensus on AZRX shares is a Strong Buy; the stock has 4 recent reviews, including 3 Buys and a single Hold. In addition, the $4 average price target brings the upside potential to 304%. (See AZRX stock analysis on TipRanks) ProQR (PRQR) ProQR is a biotechnology company focused on treatments for congenital progressive blindness. Specifically, the firm is working on medications to reverse a group of genetic sight disorders called inherited retinal diseases. These diseases currently have no effective treatments. The company has a research pipeline of five drug candidates, in varying stages of the research process. The two that are farthest along are QR-110 (Sepofarsen), and QR-421. Of those two, QR-110 is currently in Phase 2/3 studies. This candidate is an RNA therapy designed to correct the most common CEP290 gene mutation causing Leber congenital amaurosis 10 (LCA10). This is a severe genetic retinal disease that affects as many as 3 in 100,000 children. QR-421 is another RNA therapy, this one focused on exon 13 mutations in the USH2A gene. These mutations cause blindness due to retinitis pigmentosa and/or Usher syndrome. QR-421 is in Phase 1/2 studies, with an aim of restoring lost vision or preventing the loss in the first place. Covering the stock for JMP, analyst Jonathan Wolleben points to Sepofarsen as a key component of his bullish thesis. “We continue to feel good about sepofarsen’s chance of success in Illuminate for multiple reasons: 1) Phase 1/2 confirmed the target registrational dose and dosing interval (6 months); 2) patients had clinically significant and durable BCVA improvements after 12 months – pivotal primary endpoint; 3) supportive secondary efficacy measures (FST, mobility); 4) similar responses seen in second treated eyes; 5) long-term safety confirms positive risk/benefit; and 6) Illuminate patient population was enriched based on Phase 1/2 results (baselinevision of >/=hand motion). We assign sepofarsen a 60% POS and model LCA10 as an ~$300M opportunity to PRQR at peak penetration," Wolleben opined. In line with his upbeat outlook, Wolleben puts a $20 price target on the stock, implying a 384% one-year upside, along with an Outperform (i.e. Buy) rating. (To watch Wolleben’s track record, click here) All in all, PRQR gets a unanimous Strong Buy rating from the analyst consensus, based on 3 positive stock reviews. Shares are currently trading for $4.13, and their $20.67 average price target is slightly more bullish than Wolleben’s, suggesting an upside of 400% for the coming 12 months. (See PRQR stock analysis at 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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