What happened

Shares of Altimmune (NASDAQ:ALT) were soaring 9.7% higher as of 10:30 a.m. EST on Monday after rising as much as 14.6% earlier in the morning. The big jump came after Jefferies analyst Kelechi Chikere initiated coverage on the stock with a buy recommendation and a price target representing a 100% increase over Altimmune's closing price on Friday.

So what

Sometimes Wall Street analysts' views are right, but sometimes they're wrong. However, it always makes sense to at least understand their reasoning.

Doctor holding nasal spray bottle

Image source: Getty Images.

In this case, Chikere thinks Altimmune's market cap doesn't fully reflect the market potential its experimental COVID-19 vaccine. The biotech's AdCOVID coronavirus vaccine candidate is a single-dose nasal spray. Its ease of administration and potential capability to stimulate nasal mucosal immunity (which could be key in preventing transmission of SARS-CoV-2) could give Altimmune a significant competitive advantage.

It's still really early going for AdCOVID, though. Altimmune has only evaluated the vaccine candidate in preclinical studies so far.

Now what

Altimmune hopes to begin a phase 1 study of AdCOVID in humans this month. If this early-stage study goes well, the biotech stock will likely make an even bigger step toward achieving Chikere's price target of $24 per share.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.