Analysts Weigh in on Two Rising Stocks: Cerulean Pharma Inc (CERU) and Banc of California Inc (BANC)

Cerulean Pharma Inc

Cerulean Pharma Inc (NASDAQ:CERU) shares jumped nearly 47% today after the company announced that it has entered into a research collaboration with Novartis to develop nanoparticle drug conjugates product candidates for NVS’ proprietary compounds. In addition, CERU announced a $20 million at-the-market stock purchase agreement with Aspire Capital Fund, providing some additional financial flexibility for the company.

In reaction, Roth Capital analyst Joseph Pantginis reiterated a Buy rating on Cerulean shares, with a price target of $2.50, which represents a potential upside of 160% from where the stock is currently trading.

Pantginis commented, “The two events are quite important for CERU, in our belief as it removes the perceived financing overhang for the company and further highlights the NDC platform potential with attractive terms for the early stage nature of the deal. Recall that since the failure of the late stage RCC study, the company will focus on the three remaining pillars of the CRLX101 combination strategy which includes chemotherapy, DNA damage repair, and immunotherapy.”

“To this end a key area of focus will be the ovarian cancer program. The data for the trial of ovarian cancer includes 18 patients and CERU believes that this is enough data to make the decision to move on to a Phase III trial because paclitaxel alone has an ORR of 15-25% whereas CERU is observing a 56% response rate for the combination therapy. Based on the Phase Ib study the FDA gave fast track designation in platinum resistant ovarian cancer. CERU has scheduled an end of Phase II meeting with the FDA for this fall to discuss the design of a pivotal study.” the analyst continued.

According to, which measures analysts’ and bloggers’ success rate based on how their calls perform, analyst Joseph Pantginis has a yearly average return of 7.1% and a 37% success rate. Pantginis has a -56.9% average return when recommending CERU, and is ranked #383 out of 4180 analysts.

Out of the 7 analysts polled by TipRanks, 5 rate Cerulean stock a Buy, while 2 rate the stock a Hold. With a return potential of 532%, the stock’s consensus target price stands at $6.08.

Banc of California Inc

Banc of California Inc (NYSE:BANC) shares have been on a roller coaster recently following a negative Seeking Alpha blog post that questions the company’s corporate governance and related-party transactions, and alleges ties between Mr. Jason Galanis and COR Capital, which was founded by Banc of California’s CEO. According to Bank, the board has long been aware that Mr. Galanis claimed affiliation with BANC/management, and it launched an independent investigation with Winston & Strawn, which concluded that Mr. Galanis did not have a relationship with COR Capital.

Subsequently, BANC shares are up nearly 17% today after the bank reported third-quarter results that were solidly ahead of estimates.

FBR analyst Bob Ramsey commented, “In our opinion, BANC’s thin capital, high short interest, strong growth, and certain controversial characteristics (the recent stadium deal, relatedparty transactions, etc.) make it susceptible to this sort of attack. The short attack follows a familiar playbook: the same author has posted repeatedly on BofI, and while none of those accusations have proven correct, the overhang on BOFI stock persists. BANC was quick to respond that an independent investigation led by Winston & Strawn concluded that Mr. Galanis was not affiliated with COR Capital, and the company expects to disclose “further facts publicly available as appropriate.”.”

Ramsey reiterated a Market Perform rating on Banc of California, with a price target of $20, which implies an upside of 53% from current levels.

According to, analyst Bob Ramsey has a yearly average return of 0.1% and a 59% success rate. Ramsey is ranked #2463 out of 4180 analysts.

Out of the 4 analysts polled by TipRanks, 3 rate Banc of California stock a Buy, while 1 rates the stock a Hold. With a return potential of 93%, the stock’s consensus target price stands at $25.33.

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