BioNTech (NASDAQ:BNTX), a previously little-known biotech that has become a leading coronavirus stock, is well positioned to rise 40%. That's the belief of Commerzbank, which like BioNTech is based in Germany. On Thursday, the lender initiated coverage of the company's stock with a buy at a price target of $119 per share.

BioNTech vaulted to prominence on its collaboration with global pharmaceutical industry giant Pfizer. The two companies are busy developing BNT162b2, a coronavirus vaccine candidate based on messenger RNA (mRNA). This is currently very deep in phase 2/3 clinical trials, making it one of only a handful of candidates to advance to late-stage testing so far.

A researcher studying a sample in a petri dish.

Image source: Getty Images.

No coronavirus vaccine candidate has successful passed through a series of clinical trials to be approved by a major regulator. For the first one that does (or perhaps the first few that do), the rewards will be immense, despite promises of discount pricing by some for less economically-advantaged areas of the world.  

Another factor that investors should consider with BioNTech is that, similar to many clinical-stage biotechs, it has yet to have a single one of its pipeline treatments approved. While this is fairly standard in the biotech world, it should be noted that BioNTech's prominence and popularity have pushed some of its valuations into the stratosphere, making it even more of a boom-or-bust stock than many of its industry peers.

Nevertheless, investor sentiment on BioNTech was overwhelmingly bullish on Thursday; it's unclear whether this is due to the new Commerzbank recommendation, or a newfound general optimism following a recent pull-back in the stock. Either way, BioNTech soared 9.4% higher on the day, well past the gains of the S&P 500 index.