Cowen Chimes in on bluebird bio Inc (BLUE) Following R&D Meeting

Following bluebird bio Inc’s (NASDAQ:BLUE) first research and development (R&D) meeting, Cowen top analyst Eric Schmidt shares insight on the firm’s preclinical strides in “optimizing” viral delivery, a progression of both development as well as regulatory strategic processes, and the firm’s initial mindset on commercial manufacturing and distribution. Subsequently, the analyst reiterates an Outperform rating on shares of BLUE without listing a price target.

Schmidt notes, “Highlights included a pivotal trial plan for LentiGlobin in b0/b0 beta thalassemia and a green light to begin dosing in children. BLUE should outperform as its programs advance,” particularly after the biotech firm’s recent expansion to 350 new employees throughout research, manufacturing, clinical regulatory, and BLUE’s most recent clinical sector.

Moreover, the analyst underscores, “On display earlier today was much of the progress that bluebird bio has been making behind the scenes at it attempts to become the leading gene therapy company to offer transformative, one-time therapies to patient populations of high unmet need.”

Thanks to advances in “platform innovation,” Schmidt sees that “bluebird has taken on a multi-faceted approach to solve for variable clinical results seen with LentiGlobin in b0/b0 transfusiondependent beta thalassemia (TDT) and SCD patients.”

BLUE expressed a corporate focus on approaching a partnership with regulators in order to “navigate the challenges in developing novel gene therapies,” discussing these obstacles with both the FDA and EMA, as its pipeline drug LentiGlobin, designed to treat transfusion dependent beta-thal patients, has been granted breakthrough therapy designation coupled with respective adaptive pathway and PRIME status. The firm has also revealed a decision to commercialize its products in Europe, with commercial manufacturing agreements “in place.”

Looking into the future, Schmidt anticipates a LentiGlobin clinical update across thalassemia and Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) at the American Society of Hematology (ASH) conference upcoming in December.

During the first half of 2017, the firm intends to present first clinical data from its Phase 1 trial on bb2121 anti-BCMA CAR T for refractory myeloma. Also in the works for 2017 is a Lenti-D update and an initial clinical data read-out on LentiGlobin using Process 2 enhancement. Lastly, new product disclosures and IND filings are likely to occur between 2017 and 2018.

As usual, we like to include the analyst’s track record when reporting on new analyst notes to give a perspective on the effect it has on stock performance. According to TipRanks, top five-star analyst Eric Schmidt has achieved a high ranking of #70 out of 4,182 analysts. Schmidt upholds a 53% success rate and realizes 22.7% in his annual returns. When recommending BLUE, Schmidt yields 105.3% in average profits on the stock.

TipRanks analytics exhibit BLUE as a Buy. Based on 10 analysts polled in the last 3 months, 8 rate a Buy on BLUE, 1 maintains a Hold, while 1 issues a Sell. The 12-month price target stands at $88.14, marking a 51% upside from where the shares last closed.

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