Kite Pharma Inc (KITE) Takes Compelling Step Forward Toward Securing Broad Label in Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma

Yesterday, Kite Pharma Inc (NASDAQ:KITE) impressed at the 2017 American Association of Cancer Research annual meeting, presenting an encouraging full six- month data readout from its ongoing ZUMA-1 trial in patients with relapsed or refractory non-Hodgkin lymphoma. In reaction to the news, shares are rising almost 6% today.

While Roth Capital analyst Mark Breidenbach is not surprised by the trial results, he certainly finds them “compelling” anticipating a broad label indication could be waiting in the wings for the firm. As such, the analyst reiterates a Buy rating on shares of KITE with a $93 price target, which represents a just under 12% increase from where the stock is currently trading.

Breidenbach asserts, “In our view, the consistency among treatment outcomes, regardless of patient history and individual axi-cel (KTE-C19) product composition, supports broad labelling for the autologous CAR-T therapy. We believe the company has submitted a compelling BLA package to the FDA […]”

“Last Friday, Kite announced that the BLA submission for axi-cel was completed, and we believe the company could receive priority review by the FDA given the recent precedent set by Novartis’ (NVS-NC) CTL019 for the pediatric ALL indication,” continues the analyst.

For investors who question how KITE sizes up against its rival Juno Therapeutics, the analyst remains unfazed. “As a reminder, Kite’s competitor Juno Therapeutics (JUNO-NC) uses an upfront 1:1 selection of CD4:CD8 T-cells in JCAR017. While upfront selection likely adds considerable complexity to manufacturing, we believe Kite’s experience suggests that the step may be unnecessary in NHL,” Breidenbach surmises, suggesting KITE achieves promising results without relying on its competition’s intricate manufacturing, offering “An effective CAR-T therapy minus the bells and whistles.”

According to TipRanks, which measures analysts’ and bloggers’ success rate based on how their calls perform, Mark Breidenbach is ranked #4,192 out of #4,562 analysts. Breidenbach has a 42% success rate and faces a loss of 6.7% in his annual returns. However, when recommending KITE, Breidenbach earns 21.2% in average profits of the stock.

TipRanks analytics show KITE as a Buy. Out of 15 analysts polled by TipRanks in the last 3 months, 9 are bullish on Kite stock while 6 remain sidelined. With a return potential of 5%, the stock’s consensus target price stands at $86.50.


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