Piper Jaffray Weighs In on Two Falling Stocks: bluebird bio Inc (BLUE), Cellectis SA (ADR) (CLLS)

Piper Jeffery analyst Joshua Schimmer is weighing in on the biotechnology company bluebird bio Inc (NASDAQ:BLUE) and French genome engineering company Cellectis SA (ADR) (NASDAQ:CLLS), as shares of both companies fell sharply today following clinical updates at American Society of Hematology (ASH).

bluebird bio Inc

bluebird bio shares are falling nearly 36% to $53.39, following the company’s data presentations at the ASH over the weekend, showing a heightened risk that the therapeutic benefit observed by some β-thalassemia patients may not be durable. Furthermore, initial results from two sickle cell disease (SCD) patients are less robust than those from an earlier patient.

However, Schimmer remains positive on the stock, reiterating an Overweight rating on the stock with a price target of $204, which implies an upside of 273% from current levels

The analyst wrote, “While there have still only been a limited number of patients treated with LentiGlobin, each provides a rich amount of information to assess. It’s important to get a little lost in the weeds and hyperfocus on every individual experience, but it turns out our most important takeaway is that the management team is very competently iterating and optimizing the platform, which has long been our theme in GT. The updated sickle cell patient data will likely create turbulence in shares this week (although some of the findings may be specific to practices at one particular center), nonetheless we are more confident than ever that the future remains bright for BLUE. The early experience has been promising and the company is rapidly evolving to make it even better.”

According to TipRanks.com, which measures analysts’ and bloggers’ success rate based on how their calls perform, analyst Joshua Schimmer has a total average return of -1% and a 42.4% success rate. Schimmer has a -32.2% average return when recommending BLUE, and is ranked #2885 out of 3645 analysts.

Out of the 12 analysts polled by TipRanks in the last 3 months, 9 rate bluebird bio stock a Buy, while 3 rate the stock a Hold. With a return potential of 148%, the stock’s consensus target price stands at $142.09.

Cellectis SA (ADR)

Cellectis shares are down 13% to $29.23, after the company’s collaborator UCL presented data from one patient treated with UCART19 in a compassionate-use setting. While no complete responses (CRS) observed, the patient developed Grade-II skin-GVHD that resolved after treatment with steroids and may or may not have been related to UCART19-treatment. Furthermore, Cellectis and its partners Pfizer and Servier held a conference call to discuss the amended agreement regarding UCART19.

Schimmer commented, “The amended agreement has no impact on existing agreements that CLLS has with Servier and PFE for other targets. We believe this amendment highlights PFE’s high interest in developing allo CAR-T products and importantly provides external validation for CLLS’s TALENbased allo CAR-T platform.”

The analyst continued, “UCL provided further details of the first patient treated by UCART19. It is unclear whether the GvHD was due to UCART19 cells or previous allo HSCT, and regardless that minor level is very manageable. Overall, we view the data as very encouraging and P1 trials in ALL and CLL are currently planned.”

Schimmer reiterated an Overweight rating on Cellectis shares, with a price target of $44, which represents a potential upside of 49% from where the stock is currently trading. According to TipRanks.com, Schimmer has a -1.7% average return when recommending CLLS.

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