JPM Conference Takeaways: Maxim Analysts Offer Commentary On AEterna Zentaris Inc. (USA) (AEZS), Kite Pharma Inc (KITE) And Inovio Pharmaceuticals Inc (INO)


Following the annual J.P. Morgan healthcare conference, Maxim analysts offered commentary on a handful of biotechnology stocks. Here are the primary takeaways the analysts offered on AEterna Zentaris Inc. (USA)(NASDAQ:AEZS) Kite Pharma Inc (NASDAQ:KITE), and Inovio Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:INO)

AEterna Zentaris Inc. (USA)

Maxim analyst Jason Kolbert reiterated a Buy rating on shares of Aeterna Zentaris, with a price target of $11, which implies an upside of 251% from current levels.

Kolbert wrote, “The company provided an update regarding progress with ZoptEC. The DSMB has now recommended that the trial continue to completion following review of the final interim efficacy and safety data and that the compound met its Phase II primary endpoint in men with heavily pretreated castration- and taxane-resistant prostate cancer in an investigator-sponsored study. Recall that the ZoptEC trial is now fully enrolled and expected to conclude in 2H16. We believe the trial will have a favorable outcome given the history of the compound.”

Furthermore, “The confirmatory Phase III clinical study to demonstrate the efficacy of Macrilen for adult growth hormone deficiency (AGHD) is up and running (the first patient has been treated). We believe Macrilen is a viable therapeutic/diagnostic that will be used in the AGHD marketplace and potentially in traumatic brain injury.”

According to TipRanks.com, which measures analysts’ and bloggers’ success rate based on how their calls perform, analyst Jason Kolbert has a yearly average return of -22.4% and a 22.3% success rate. Kolbert has a -78.8% average return when recommending AEZS, and is ranked #3580 out of 3582 analysts.

As of this writing, all the 3 analysts polled by TipRanks rate Aeterna Zentaris stock a Buy. With a return potential of nearly 285%, the stock’s consensus target price stands at $12.

Kite Pharma Inc

Maxim analyst Jason McCarthy reiterated a Buy rating on shares of Kite Pharma, with a price target of $87, which represents a potential upside of 62% from where the stock is currently trading.

McCarthy noted, “Several indicators point to Kite targeting more than r/r, including investment in commercial manufacturing, a recent CRADA with NCI to develop next-gen CD19 CARs, and the push for individual INDs for each subtype of B-cell cancer in r/r (targeting six subtypes in r/r). In addition, the remission longevity data and safety data suggest KTE-C19 could be a viable therapy before progression to r/r, where remission times could be even longer.”

According to data compiled by TipRanks.com, analyst Jason McCarthy has a yearly average return of -27.1% and a 6.4% success rate. McCarthy has a -13.3% average return when recommending KITE, and is ranked #3534 out of 3582 analysts.

The overwhelmingly majority of experts say Kite Pharma is a “buy.” The average forecast is for the stock to hit nearly $90 in the coming months.

Inovio Pharmaceuticals Inc

In addition, analyst Jason McCarthy reiterated a Buy rating on shares of Inovio Pharmaceuticals, with a price target of $14, which implies an upside of 185% from current levels.

McCarthy observed, “At JP Morgan, Inovio management discussed upcoming 2016 catalysts in both immune oncology and infectious disease.” Regarding the immune oncology, “The company’s lead vaccine, VGX-3100 (for precancerous cervical dysplasia), is heading towards a pivotal phase III study (pending the end of phase II meetings with the FDA in 1Q16E).” Regarding the infectious diseases, “Inovio’s two lead ID programs in MERS (Middle East respiratory syndrome) and Ebola should be actively producing data in 2016, including from the DNA-based monoclonal antibodies (dMABs).”

The analyst concluded, “Inovio has multiple incremental catalysts in 2016 that should aid in getting though what we see as a potential data trough (VGX-3100 pivotal study, INO-3112 phase II). The company has $170M in cash, which is sufficient to fund pipeline programs as well as the pivotal program for VGX-3100, in our view.”

All the 5 analysts polled by TipRanks rate Inovio Pharmaceuticals stock a Buy. With a return potential of 256%, the stock’s consensus target price stands at $17.50.