Griffin Lifts Price Target on ZIOPHARM Oncology Inc. (ZIOP) Ahead of Groundbreaking 2017


Griffin analyst Keith Markey sees golden prospects ahead for ZIOPHARM Oncology Inc. (NASDAQ:ZIOP), particularly taking into account the seven clinical trials the firm has forthcoming on the table for this year; trials which the analyst commends as remarkable. Therefore, the analyst reiterates a Buy rating on ZIOP while boosting the price target from $21 to $23, which represents a just under 253% increase from where the shares last closed.

As far as Markey sizes up ZIOP’s pipeline, he notes “a paradigm shift with point-of-care T cells,” underscoring, “Ziopharm has cut the preparation time of CAR T cells to two days with its Sleeping Beauty technology. A Phase 1 trial is set to begin to test a third-generation CAR T cell that targets CD19 and expresses membrane-bound interleukin-15 (IL-15). These cells are younger than T cells that are typically expanded ex vivo and they include memory T stem cells. Favorable results from the study could put the therapy on a path to a 2019 launch.”

Second, the analyst sings the praises of the biotech firm’s “[…] versatile IL-12 gene therapy,” noting, “Preparations are under way for a pivotal trial of Ziopharm’s IL-12 gene therapy for glioblastoma. […] The data point to a median overall survival benefit of more than 12 months, which is 2 to 3 fold longer than expected for patients with advanced disease. We believe the pivotal trial will support commercialization in 2019.” Should two additional IL-12 gene therapy trials begin, the analyst anticipates data by the close of this year that could both enhance efficacy as well as extend its outreach.

Considering Markey’s confidence that “Ziopharm will break new ground with seven clinical studies in 2017,” he remains bullish on the firm’s “exceptional therapies in the clinical queue.”

As usual, we recommend taking analyst notes with a grain of salt. According to TipRanks, Keith Markey is ranked #4,297 out of 4,381 analysts. Markey has a 10% success rate and faces a loss of 32.4% in his yearly returns. When recommending ZIOP, Markey forfeits 19.2% in average profits on the stock.

Additionally, Whitney Ijem of J.P. Morgan rates a Hold on ZIOP without listing a price target; Reni Benjamin of Raymond James rates a Hold without suggesting a price target; Jim Birchenough of Wells Fargo rates a Hold with a $6.50 price target; and Eric Cricuolo of Mizuho rates a Hold with a $5 price target, marking a 23% downside from where the shares last closed.