Vera Therapeutics could be set for a windfall, according to Jefferies. The firm upgraded shares of the late-stage biotech to buy from hold, lifting its price target to $26 from $18. The new forecast implies nearly 126% upside from Thursday’s close. Shares of Vera Therapeutics have fallen 37.8%this year. But analyst Farzin Haque believes that the stock’s recent pullback now means an attractive entry point for investors. VERA YTD mountain VERA YTD chart “W/ shares down –30% (vs XBI –13%) since Sept 21 TVTX data release, we have become more optimistic about atacicept (dual BAFF/APRIL) clin profile,” Haque wrote. Atacicept, which Vera took over from Merck, is a drug that treats certain autoimmune diseases. The drug could be especially helpful in targeting IgA Nephropathy and Lupus Nephritis, two kidney diseases that are also “large mkt opportunities with an increasingly established [regulation] path.” “Atacicept has shown superior safety and [proof of concept] data that showcase potential as a disease-modifying agent that can address underlying disease,” Haque said. “At current valuation of $0.5B, we see risk/reward heavily skewed toward upside.” Another headwind for the stock has been the lack of positive catalysts ahead of the company’s Phase 3 trial results for Atacicept — which are expected in the first half of 2025. This could change if Vera’s open label extension shows that atacicept does indeed treat IgA Nephropathy through the use of successful estimated glomerular filtration rate, or eGFR kidney tests. “W/ recent increasing focus on eGFR, VERA’s OLE data from ph.II for longer-term eGFR data (expected 1Q24) has now become an important catalyst for the stock,” Haque said. — CNBC’s Michael Bloom contributed to this report.