ZIOPHARM Oncology Inc. (NASDAQ:ZIOP) has indicating the firm will be shifting its R&D pipeline, centering its IL-12 gene therapy program on glioblastoma following the suspension of future development of its breast cancer therapy program. From the eyes of Griffin analyst Keith Markey, this was a smart, business-minded choice and he therefore reiterates a Buy rating on shares of ZIOP with a $23 price target, which represents a just under 271% increase from where the stock is currently trading.

Markey notes, “Given the potential of the other programs scheduled to enter clinical trials this year, we believe this was a strategic decision to utilize corporate resources. The breast cancer trial was slow to enroll patients, partly because it was being conducted at a single medical center. Then, too, a number of therapies are now available commercially and in clinical development for the disease.”

Additionally, not only does the analyst continue to back the stock with confidence, he further explains, “We’re maintaining our price target despite the modification to the R&D pipeline. […] With the Phase 2 breast cancer study suspended, we believe it is reasonable to think that one or two of the clinical studies scheduled to commence in this year’s first half will advance and thus serve as a replacement(s).”

Ultimately, “ZIOP shares merit a BUY recommendation, as we believe they offer significant appreciation potential over the next 12 months with the execution of the clinical development programs,” Markey contends.

As usual, we recommend taking analyst notes with a grain of salt. According to TipRanks, Keith Markey is ranked #4,410 out of 4,501 analysts. Markey has a 10% success rate and faces a loss of 33.5% in his yearly returns. When rating ZIOP, Markey loses 22.1% 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, which represents a nearly 5% increase from where the shares last closed; Eric Criscuolo of Mizuho rates a Hold with a $5 price target, which represents a 19% downside from where the shares last closed.