What happened

European biotech Affimed Therapeutics (AFMD 0.50%) was looking a bit sickly on our stock exchange Monday. The company's U.S.-traded shares suffered a more than 16% decline, on the back of a rather dispiriting new take from an analyst.

So what

The prognosticator in question is Stifel's (SF -0.02%) Bradley Canino. Before market open on Monday, Canino published a new research note, in which he downgraded his recommendation on Affimed stock to hold from buy. He also made a significant chop to his price target on the biotech; he now feels it is worth a mere $2 per share, well down from the previous $9. 

The analyst is concerned about the company's recent updates about its pipeline, which centers on a form of cancer-attacking technology, innate cell engagers. As their name implies, the engagers connect cancer-killing cells to tumor cells to help reduce them. '

Although early-stage clinical trials yielded results that many considered to be positive, Canino is sounding a note of caution -- particularly in the current macroeconomic environment, where investors and enterprises are nervous about putting money into more speculative ventures.

Referring to Affimed's recent updates, Canino wrote that "We no longer expect AFMD's three near-term data updates to collectively be positive for the stock, as we expect subsequent development phases could lack the clarity and momentum demanded during capital-constrained market conditions."

Now what

The Stifel prognosticator raises an important point that's germane not only to Affimed, but to clinical-stage biotechs in general. Investors are becoming more skittish about such investments, and as a result they will likely have to show stronger results in the lab, perhaps also in later-stage testing. This isn't a confident market at the moment, and Affimed's double-digit drop on Canino's note reflects that fear.