Juno Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ:JUNO), a biopharmaceutical company focused on re-engaging the body’s immune system to revolutionize the treatment of cancer, and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center (Fred Hutch) today announced the creation of a new, best-in-class clinical trials unit (CTU) dedicated to immuno-oncology.

University of Washington, the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance (SCCA), Fred Hutch, and Juno are all investing in the CTU, and Juno will also provide research funds to Fred Hutch in support of pre-clinical and clinical research focused on the development of improved cancer immunotherapies.

“Immuno-oncology, and in particular, T cell therapies are advancing at a rapid pace, and translational medicine and clinical care of patients need to move as quickly as the basic science,” said Mark J. Gilbert, M.D., Juno’s Chief Medical Officer. “We are pleased to work with these world-leading institutions to accelerate the pace of learning for the field and the standard of care for patients. Our ongoing CAR T cell trials have highlighted the opportunity for strong translational medicine to improve our therapies and for dedicated clinical scientists to improve patient outcomes.”

“Establishing this clinical trials unit is vital to accelerating our lifesaving research,” said Fred Hutch President and Director Gary Gilliland, M.D., Ph.D. “We are on the precipice of multiple curative therapies, and the investment of Juno and the SCCA in our science will be catalytic in moving our discoveries into patients.”

“Clinical trials are crucial steps in bringing safer, more effective cancer therapies to the patients who need them,” said Fred Appelbaum, M.D., SCCA Executive Director and President. “The CTU will enable patients participating in clinical trials to get all of their care at a single site, with a team of dedicated surgeons, radiologists, pathologists and medical oncologists.”

In addition to consolidating trial participants’ care into one location, the new unit will have dedicated space for research teams to handle specimens and collect trial data. The CTU is expected to be operational in mid-2016 and will be available for studies supported by Juno and other drugmakers. (Original Source)

Shares of Juno Therapeutics are up half percent in after-hours trading. JUNO has a 1-year high of $69.28 and a 1-year low of $22.37. The stock’s 50-day moving average is $32.04 and its 200-day moving average is $42.38.

On the ratings front, Juno has been the subject of a number of recent research reports. In a report issued on February 17, Guggenheim analyst Anthony Butler upgraded JUNO to Buy. Separately, on the same day, Maxim Group’s Jason McCarthy reiterated a Buy rating on the stock and has a price target of $78.

According to TipRanks.com, which ranks over 7,500 financial analysts and bloggers to gauge the performance of their past recommendations, Anthony Butler and Jason McCarthy have a total average return of 26.0% and -19.5% respectively. Butler has a success rate of 75.9% and is ranked #116 out of 3638 analysts, while McCarthy has a success rate of 22.6% and is ranked #3565.

Juno Therapeutics Inc is a biopharmaceutical company. The Company is engaged in revolutionizing medicine by re-engaging the body’s immune system to treat cancer.