Juno Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ:JUNO) announced encouraging preliminary clinical data for JCAR017 in patients with relapsed or refractory (r/r) aggressive non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) in a presentation at the 58th American Society of Hematology (ASH) Annual Meeting. JCAR017 uses a defined CD4:CD8 cell composition and 4-1BB as the costimulatory domain, which differentiates it from other CD19-directed CAR T product candidates in clinical development.

“Our potential best-in-class CAR T candidate, JCAR017, has demonstrated an impressive early response rate in these sick NHL patients,” said Mark J. Gilbert, M.D., Juno’s Chief Medical Officer. “In particular, the side effect profile and persistence of CAR T cells that we observed, even in patients who relapsed, will allow us to explore higher doses and the possibility for combination therapies to potentially increase durable response rates.”

In the multi-center Phase I trial (ASH Abstract #4192), led by principal investigator Jeremy Abramson, M.D., of Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center, patients with r/r diffuse large B cell lymphoma (DLBCL), follicular lymphoma grade 3B or mantle cell lymphoma (MCL) were treated with fludarabine/cyclophosphamide (flu/cy) lymphodepletion and JCAR017.

Key data include:

  • In 22 safety-evaluable patients (19 r/r DLBCL, 1 follicular lymphoma grade 3B, and 2 MCL patients) treated at dose level 1, single-dose schedule, no severe cytokine release syndrome (sCRS) was observed. Grade 3-4 neurotoxicity was observed in 3/22 (14%) patients, all of whom received the steroid dexamethasone for neurotoxicity. A single patient received tocilizumab for early onset grade 2 CRS. The most frequently reported treatment-emergent adverse events were neutropenia (100%), decreased appetite (36%) and fatigue (32%).
  • In 20 efficacy-evaluable patients with r/r DLBCL (N=19) and follicular lymphoma grade 3B (N=1) treated at dose level 1 (5×107 cells), single-dose schedule, the overall response was 16/20 (80%) and complete response (CR) was 12/20 (60%) patients.
  • For DLBCL patients treated more than three months prior to the data cut-off date, 8/19 (42%) patients continue to experience an ongoing response.
  • In dose level 2 (1×108 cells), 2/2 (100%) patients evaluable for efficacy have a complete response, and no patients evaluable for safety to date (N=3) have had sCRS or grade 3-4 neurotoxicity. (Original Source)

Shares of Juno Therapeutics are currently trading at $20.31, down $0.12 or -0.59%. JUNO has a 1-year high of $52.62 and a 1-year low of $19.41. The stock’s 50-day moving average is $27.15 and its 200-day moving average is $33.93.

On the ratings front, JUNO stock has been the subject of a number of recent research reports. In a report released today, Maxim analyst Jason McCarthy reiterated a Buy rating on JUNO, with a price target of $34, which implies an upside of 62% from current levels. Separately, on November 30, J.P. Morgan’s Cory Kasimov maintained a Hold rating on the stock and has a price target of $34.

According to TipRanks.com, which ranks over 7,500 financial analysts and bloggers to gauge the performance of their past recommendations, Jason McCarthy and Cory Kasimov have a yearly average loss of 15.4% and 12.1% respectively. McCarthy has a success rate of 27% and is ranked #4133 out of 4240 analysts, while Kasimov has a success rate of 31% and is ranked #4127.

Overall, 3 research analysts have assigned a Hold rating and 5 research analysts have given a Buy rating to the stock. When considering if perhaps the stock is under or overvalued, the average price target is $36.00 which is 71.4% above where the stock opened today.

Juno Therapeutics, Inc. operates as a biopharmaceutical company, which focuses on re-engaging the body’s immune system to revolutionize the treatment of cancer. It platforms include chimeric antigen receptors and T-cell receptors. The chimeric antigen receptors technology directs T-cells to recognize cancer cells based on expression of specific cell surface proteins. The T-cell receptors technology provides the T-cells with a specific T-cell receptor that recognizes protein fragments derived from either intracellular or extracellular proteins.