BMO Capital Upgrades ZIOPHARM Oncology (ZIOP) Two-Notches to Outperform; 'CAR-T Alliance Is Transformational'
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BMO Capital upgraded ZIOPHARM Oncology (NASDAQ: ZIOP) from Underperform to Outperform with a price target of $15.00 (from $1.00) after the company and Intrexon announced a broad exclusive licensing agreement with MD Anderson for CAR-T, TCR and NK programs yesterday.
Analyst Jim Birchenough comments, "We are upgrading our rating to Outperform and increasing our price target to $15 following yesterday's CAR-T announcement. Following our detailed review of the Immuno-Oncology space we believe that CAR-T technology is validated and potentially broadly applicable to both hematologic malignancy and solid tumors. Profound early results in ALL, NHL and CLL, and most recently myeloma have led three companies to plan registration study initiations in 2015. While CAR-T success in solid tumors may be more difficult to achieve, ZIOP's orally activated RHEO switch could be a game changer in optimizing immune response. We believe that involvement of MD Anderson provides both credibility and support for development and with a precedent being set for rapid transition for phase 1 to registration studies we think ZIOP has the potential to catch up rapidly and become leaders for next- generation CAR-T products."
Shares of ZIOPHARM Oncology closed at $5.74 yesterday.
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