Juno Therapeutics (JUNO): Cutting PT By 25% - Leerink
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Leerink Partners analyst, Michael Schmidt, reiterated his Outperform rating on shares of Juno Therapeutics (NASDAQ: JUNO) but cut his price target to $34 from $45 following news last week that the pivotal ROCKET trial of JUNO's JCAR015 product candidate in adult acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL) has (again) been placed on a clinical hold due to safety concerns.
JUNO was able to resume the trial rather quickly following a clinical hold earlier this year but now the future of this program is increasingly uncertain as JUNO mgmt. is trying to better understand the therapeutic window of JCAR015. This raises the question of whether the company moved into a pivotal trial too fast.
That said, the analyst thinks JUNO's next-gen antiCD19 CAR-T product JCAR017 represents the main value driver for the company and it holds the promise to differentiate with potential utility in pediatric and adult (ALL), chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), as well as lymphoma/diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL).
Pivotal trials in lymphoma are expected to initiate in 2017 pending a key update from the ongoing Ph I study at ASH which could validate JUNO’s approach. The analyst thinks it's possible that JCAR017 ultimately replaces JCAR015 in adult ALL based on more promising data generated there with JCAR014 (which is similar to JCAR017).
Shares of Juno Therapeutics closed at $23.01 yesterday.
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