Juno Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ:JUNO) and Celgene Corporation (NASDAQ:CELG) announced that Celgene exercised its option to develop and commercialize the Juno CD19 program outside North America and China. With the exercise of this option, Celgenewill pay Juno a fee of $50 million and the companies will now share global development expenses for products in the CD19 program. Celgene has commercial rights outside of North America and China and will pay Juno a royalty at a percentage in the mid-teens on any future net sales of therapeutic products developed through the CD19 program in Celgene’s territories. Juno retains commercialization rights in North America and China.
Juno currently has three CD19-directed product candidates in clinical development, including JCAR015, JCAR017, and JCAR014. JCAR015 is in a Phase II trial for adults with relapsed or refractory (r/r) acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). JCAR017 is in two separate Phase I trials, one in pediatric patients with r/r ALL and another in patients with r/r non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL). JCAR014 is in a Phase I trial in three different indications, adult r/r/ ALL, r/r NHL, and r/r chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), as well as a trial in combination with AstraZeneca’s investigational programmed death ligand 1 (PD-L1) immune checkpoint inhibitor, durvalumab.
“Our CD19-directed portfolio of drug candidates has shown encouraging efficacy and manageable toxicity in trials to date across a range of B cell malignancies, and we are pleased that Celgene has decided to opt in to the CD19 program. Celgene’s development and commercial expertise, particularly in hematologic malignancies, make them our ideal partner and will accelerate our global development capabilities for patients with ALL, CLL, and NHL,” saidHans Bishop, Juno’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “The long-term collaboration with Celgene is an important component of our plan to develop our engineered T cell platform rapidly and effectively for the benefit of patients around the world, and we are encouraged by the progress we are making together.”
“Our decision to move forward with the Juno CD19 program underscores our commitment to the long-term collaboration with Juno and our strong desire to deliver important new treatment options to patients with serious hematologic malignancies,” said Robert Hershberg, M.D., Ph.D., Chief Scientific Officer for Celgene. “CD19-based CAR T therapies hold great promise in B cell malignancies including acute lymphoblastic leukemia, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and chronic lymphocytic leukemia. Further, the lessons learned from CD19 will inform additional targets and approaches as the Celgene-Juno collaboration evolves.” (Original Source)
Shares of Juno Therapeutics closed last Friday at $41.89, up $1.04 or 2.55%. 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 $38.57 and its 200-day moving average is $42.24.
On the ratings front, Juno has been the subject of a number of recent research reports. In a report issued on April 8, FBR analyst Edward White reiterated a Buy rating on JUNO, with a price target of $73, which implies an upside of 74.3% from current levels. Separately, on February 25, Citigroup’s Robyn Karnauskas initiated coverage with a Buy rating on the stock and has a price target of $45.
According to TipRanks.com, which ranks over 7,500 financial analysts and bloggers to gauge the performance of their past recommendations, Edward White and Robyn Karnauskas have a total average return of 2.0% and 6.1% respectively. White has a success rate of 54.2% and is ranked #1386 out of 3788 analysts, while Karnauskas has a success rate of 57.4% and is ranked #403.
The street is mostly Bullish on JUNO stock. Out of 4 analysts who cover the stock, 4 suggest a Buy rating . The 12-month average price target assigned to the stock is $45.00, which represents a potential upside of 7.4% from where the stock is currently trading.
Juno Therapeutics, Inc. is a biopharmaceutical company focused on body’s immune system to treat cancer by developing cellular immunotherapies. It platforms include chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) and T-cell receptors (TCRs). The CAR technology is designed to target cell surface antigens that are expressed on cancer cells. In addition, the high-affinity TCR technology can also detect alterations in intracellular proteins present in tumor cells.