Why ImmunoGen Inc. Shares Took Flight

Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

What: Shares of ImmunoGen (NASDAQ: IMGN  ) , a biopharmaceutical company focused on developing therapies to fight cancer, advanced as much as 15% after research firm Canaccord Genuity initiated coverage on the company.

So what: Before the opening bell rang, Canaccord Genuity issued a buy rating on ImmunoGen with a $20 price target, implying upside potential of 56% based on yesterday's closing price. According to Canaccord, it believes that ImmunoGen and Roche's (NASDAQOTH: RHHBY  )  drug, Kadcyla -- a targeted antibody payload therapy that piggybacks a toxin onto an antibody and delivers that toxin to targeted cancer cells -- will be successful in a late-stage trial in treating HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer. Canaccord anticipates positive top-line results in the second half of this year and sees north of a $7 billion opportunity in this HER2-positive adjuvant breast cancer space. Although Canaccord isn't anticipating a huge revenue impact immediately from Kadcyla, it does see revenue growth accelerating nicely over time.

Now what: As per the norm, it's never a good idea to put too much credence into the ratings of Wall Street analysts as they're often very short-term drivers of a stock's share price. But this is one of those rare cases where I agree wholeheartedly with Canaccord, so it's not exactly affecting or altering my investment thesis.

I firmly believe that ImmunoGen's TAP technology, and its peers' antibody-drug conjugate technology, offers biopharmaceuticals a more focused way of attacking cancer cells and improving patient quality of life and overall survival. ImmunoGen has a deep pipeline of cancer therapeutics as well as a number of key partnerships in the space lending itself plenty of opportunities to hit a home run. It could be some time before ImmunoGen sees steady cash flow from its hard work (i.e., expect ongoing losses in the meantime), but the viability of its proprietary TAP technology is very promising. I would certainly suggest biotech-savvy investors add ImmunoGen to your watchlist moving forward.

ImmunoGen may be soaring today, but it'll likely be hard-pressed to keep pace with this top stock in 2014
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