bluebird bio Inc (NASDAQ:BLUE) has initiated a Phase III trial (HB-207) for its pipeline drug LentiGlobin, designed to treat transfusion-dependent beta-thalassemia patients with a non-b0/b0 genotype.

Optimistic on the 15-patient trial set to incorporate an enhanced LentiGlobin production process created to boost transgene expression, Cowen top analyst Eric Schmidt believes this will benefit bluebird in “supporting a U.S. BLA while confirming a possible EU approval.”

Moreover, Schmidt asserts, “We think the news provides increased clarity on LentiGlobin’s regulatory path and timelines.” As such, the analyst reiterates an Outperform rating on shares of BLUE without listing a price target.

“The timing of HB-207’s initiation is largely in line with our expectations. Moreover, it had been widely speculated that the trial would not require a new IND to support the inclusion of the transduction enhancers. We are optimistic that this modification will result in higher VCNs that translate into improved LentiGlobin efficacy, though the degree to which this is the case will require empirical data. Today’s news does bring additional clarity on the regulatory outlook for LentiGlobin,” the analyst wrote.

As usual, we like to include the analyst’s track record when reporting on new analyst notes to give a perspective on the effect it has on stock performance. According to TipRanks, top five-star analyst Eric Schmidt has achieved a high ranking of #71 out of 4,147 analysts. Schmidt upholds a 54% success rate and realizes 22.5% in his annual returns. When recommending BLUE, Schmidt garners 113.3% in average profits on the stock.

TipRanks analytics demonstrate BLUE as a Strong Buy. Based on 7 analysts polled in the last 3 months, 6 rate a Buy on BLUE, while 1 maintains a Hold. The consensus price target stands at $90.80, marking a nearly 62% upside from where the shares last closed.