Maxim’s healthcare analyst Jason McCarthy weighed in today on cancer-drug maker Juno Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ:JUNO) and cancer-vaccine maker Inovio Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:INO). The analyst reflects on Juno’s opportunity in CAR-T, and Inovio’s approach in developing Zika virus vaccine.
Juno Therapeutics Inc
McCarthy was out pounding the table on Juno Therapeutics Wednesday, reiterating a Buy rating and price target of $78, as investor sentiment have turned away from CD19 CAR-T in relapsed/refractory B-cell cancer to whatever is beyond.
McCarthy wrote, “CAR-T is real, and data will drive the sector. From the peaks of this summer to the current troughs of what is a very bearish biotech market, we believe data will be the ultimate performance driver. We believe data is coming for the CAR-T companies such as Juno, and we remain upbeat as we see viable science and products that can change the outcome for thousands of patients.”
“What’s next for Juno? The primary focus is on driving CD19-targeting CARs across the finish line in leukemia (potential approval in 2017) and building infrastructure to support a commercial launch,” the analyst added.
According to TipRanks.com, which measures analysts’ and bloggers’ success rate based on how their calls perform, analyst Jason McCarthy has a yearly average return of -22.5% and a 20% success rate. McCarthy has a -34% average return when recommending JUNO, and is ranked #3554 out of 3610 analysts.
Inovio Pharmaceuticals Inc
In addition, analyst Jason McCarthy reiterated a Buy rating on shares of Inovio Pharmaceuticals, with a price target of $14, after the company announced that the company’s DNA-based Zika virus vaccine induces anti-Zika immune responses in mice. According to TipRanks, McCarthy has a 7.6% average return when recommending INO.
McCarthy noted, “What differentiates Inovio’s DNA-based approach versus “traditional” vaccine approaches (i.e. attenuated virus) is the induction of both anti-viral antibodies and killer T cell responses (CD8+). Antibodies are necessary to neutralize “free” virus in the blood while T cells move in and kill viral-infected cells, which may act as a source of re-infection or chronic infection. Traditional vaccines also induce T cell responses but to a lesser extent, the immune response tends to be skewed towards antibodies.”