On October 13th, bluebird bio Inc (NASDAQ:BLUE) hosted a Research and Development (R&D) Day shining light on its newly implemented process and manufacturing enhancements for pipeline drug LentiGlobin, designed to treat transfusion dependent beta-thal patients.

Amid updates on BLUE’s clinical and regulatory moves into the future, Wedbush top analyst David Nierengarten reiterates an Outperform rating on shares of BLUE with a $117 price target, which represents just under a 107% increase from where the stock is currently trading.

Among the biotech firm’s new developments, Nierengarten underscores key highlights. First, Nierengarten notes presentations of in vitro and in vivo data, which showcase improved transduction efficiency with BLUE’s new LentiGloben process. Second, BLUE’s R&D Day included an announcement indicating 2nd gen LentiGlobin product has been incorporated in the -206 study as well as all future studies. Third, the firm’s ongoing LentiGlobin study in Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) will be upsized to adapt for various study protocol modifications. Fourth, regulators have confirmed prior guidance offered on LentiGlobin’s regulatory path will not be impacted by these new process changes. Fifth, BLUE intends to start next year an HGB-212 Phase 3 trial in 15 severe beta-thal patients.

The analyst sees these improvements to BLUE’s gene therapy platform as positive and believes the regulatory response has been “favorable,” asserting that these improvements coupled with regulatory guidance have the capacity to “incrementally lower the risk profile of LentiGlobin.”

Moreover, Nierengarten adds, “Big takeaways for us is clarification of path forward in severe (β0/β0) beta thal, and promising process improvement data that suggests β0/β0 population could still be in play.”

Particularly on the heels of the most recent American Society of Hematology (ASH) update that revealed all seven non- β0/β0 patients treated with 1st gen LentiGlobin in -204 and -205 had realized transfusion independence, with four patients transcending 12 months, “[…] we remain more confident on success in less-severe disease, and continue to value LentiGlobin opportunity only in this subpopulation. However we are incrementally more positive on likelihood of success in β0/β0, with in vitro data presented today suggesting that 2nd gen LentiGlobin could sufficiently increase corrected globin levels to levels that would bring clinically meaningful benefit in severe beta-thal disease,” Nierengarten concludes.

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 David Nierengarten has achieved a high ranking of #39 out of 4,180 analysts. Nierengarten upholds at 53% success rate and garners 34.9% in his annual returns. When recommending BLUE, Nierengarten gains 75.0% in average profits on the stock.

TipRanks analytics exhibit BLUE as a Buy. Based on 10 analysts polled in the last 3 months, 80% rate a Buy on BLUE, 10% maintain a Hold, while 10% issue a Sell. The 12-month price target stands at $88.14, marking a nearly 56% upside from where the share last closed.