Juno Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ:JUNO) shares have taken off, adding 13.72% to trade at $60.35, after the company announced today that it has acquired X-BODY, Inc., a privately held biotechnology company with nine employees based in Waltham, Massachusetts. The acquisition brings in-house to Juno an innovative discovery platform that interrogates the human antibody repertoire, rapidly selecting fully human antibodies with desired characteristics, even against difficult targets.
J.P. Morgan analyst Cory Kasimov commented: “This morning’s acquisition could prove important moving forward (both in CAR-Ts and TCRs). Bottom line, we are encouraged as JUNO adds yet another technology to its platform, and we continue to think JUNO’s multiple sources of technology/innovation (and continuing investment in expanding its platform) may prove to be a competitive advantage over time.”
The analyst continued, “On the trial front, JUNO is on track to have 10 different product candidates against 6 different antigen targets in the clinic in 2016, including the first solid tumor programs (e.g., L1CAM targeted JCAR023 in neuroblastoma and MUC-16 targeted armored CARs). Additionally, the combo trial of CD19 directed CAR plus AZ/MedImmune’s PD-L1 is expected to start later this year. We expect additional updates from the ongoing CD19 heme trials in 4Q, when we could also get our first look at CD22 targeted JCAR018 (fully human).”
Kasimov rates Juno Therapeutics shares an Overweight with a price target of $66, which represents a potential upside of 21% from where the stock is currently trading.
According to TipRanks.com, which measures analysts’ and bloggers’ success rate based on how their calls perform, analyst Cory Kasimov has a total average return of 14.1% and a 64.2% success rate. Kasimov has a 5.7% average return when recommending JUNO, and is ranked #219 out of 3610 analysts.