Juno Therapeutics (JUNO) Shares to Reflect 'Increased Level of Uncertainty' - Leerink

November 23, 2016 12:50 PM EST
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Leerink Partners analyst Michael Schmidt weighed in on Juno Therapeutics (NASDAQ: JUNO) after the company announced that it placed the pivotal "ROCKET" trial of JCAR015 in adult patients with relapsed or refractory B cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) on a clinical hold after 2 additional patients died due to treatment associated toxicities.

Schmidt commented, "This is a clear blow for JUNO who recently re-started the trial after modification of the treatment protocol (LINK) intended to lower the risk for treatment-related toxicity.... On an investor conference call this morning, mgmt. noted that it is investigating potl. factors that could have caused these toxicities, but noted that the issue could be multifactorial including the specific disease setting, the drug product (JCAR105) or the patients' pre-treatment. Mgmt. also noted the high treatment-related mortality in r/r ALL with standard of care chemotherapy treatment of 11-23% and pointed out that trials and plans for its other CD19-directed CAR T cell product candidates, including JCAR017, are not affected. JUNO plans to update at an Analyst Presentation at ASH in the next few weeks."

He added, "We expect JUNO shares (and to a smaller degree those of competitors) to reflect an increased level of uncertainty, but remain positively biased on the CAR-T category in general."

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