Gritstone Reveals Positive Phase 1 Clinical Data from CORAL-BOOST Study; Shares Plunge

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Gritstone bio, Inc. (NASDAQ: GRTS) has revealed positive Phase 1 clinical data from the first cohort (10 µg dose of CORAL self-amplifying mRNA (samRNA) vaccine) of its CORAL-BOOST study. Despite the positive outcome, shares of the clinical-stage biotechnology company plunged 42.4% on Tuesday to close at $7.02.

The results demonstrated strong neutralizing antibody responses to Spike and robust CD8+ T cell responses.

Supporting Data

CORAL-BOOST, one of the four trials in the company’s CORAL program, is designed to evaluate the safety, reactogenicity, and immunogenicity of a samRNA vaccine. The vaccine is directed against Spike and non-Spike T cell epitopes (TCE) as a booster against SARS-CoV-2 in healthy adults aged 60 years or older. These include individuals who previously received two doses of AstraZeneca’s (AZN) first-generation COVID-19 vaccine AZD1222 (Vaxzevria).

Markedly, CORAL’s samRNA vaccine showed a well-tolerated and favorable safety profile.

The CORAL-BOOST Phase 1 study is ongoing in the United Kingdom with a planned 30 mg dose. Further clinical data for additional cohorts are likely to be revealed in the coming months.

Official Comments

The CEO of Gritstone, Andrew Allen, said, “We are thrilled to share that our T cell-enhanced samRNA vaccine from the CORAL program is driving both robust CD8+ T cell responses to a broad array of viral epitopes and strong neutralizing antibody responses to Spike, which we believe validates the potential of our infectious disease platform.”

“We designed our COVID-19 vaccines to drive broad CD8+ T cell immunity, an additional key layer of protection against viruses. This innovation enables inclusion of a wide array of highly conserved viral epitopes, potentially creating an immune state that may offer more robust clinical protection against current and future SARS-CoV-2 variants and be a first step toward developing a pan-coronavirus vaccine,” Allen added.

Wall Street’s Take

Recently, Goldman Sachs analyst Corinne Jenkins initiated coverage of Gritstone with a Hold rating and a price target of $15 (113.68% upside potential).

The rest of the Street is cautiously optimistic about Gritstone, with a Moderate Buy consensus rating based on 2 Buys and 1 Hold. The average Gritstone price target of $17.50 implies 149.3% upside potential to current levels. Shares have increased 36.8% over the past year.

Risk Analysis

According to the new TipRanks Risk Factors tool, Gritstone stock is at risk mainly from three factors: Tech and Innovation, Finance & Corporate, and Legal & Regulatory, which contribute 37%, 24%, and 21%, respectively, to the total 67 risks identified for the stock.

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