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Aurinia (AUPH) Draws Upside Call Buyers as Lupus Commercial Launch Exceeds Expectations

by | Oct 1, 2021

Aurinia Pharmaceuticals (AUPH) strong run lately and today seeing the November $25 calls bought for $3.20 to open, over 1125X, and follows the November $20 calls and April $25 calls bought 2000X last week for more than $1.2M. Shares have been on a strong run since July and breaking out to all-time highs in September. The long-term measured move above $21.85 targets $30. The $2.87B company trades 49.8X sales and 9X cash and in the earliest stages of commercial launch. They recently got approval for LUPKYNIS, the first and only oral therapy approved specifically for adults with active lupus nephritis. They are seeing a strong early uptake with broad insurance coverage which should support further growth in 2022 while partnering with others to expand into the EU, UK and Japan. AUPH has smaller pipeline of assets set for catalysts into 2022 and 2023 including AUR200 for the treatment of inflammatory and fibrotic diseases. Analysts have an average target for shares of $30 with a Street High $35. Cowen positive in August noting that Q2 sales for Lupkynis of $6.6M implies well above ~500 patients are now on treatment entering the second half of the year. The analyst was encouraged by the initial launch metrics and steady progress. Hedge fund ownership fell 15% last quarter. Short interest is 16%.