What: Shares of bluebird bio (NASDAQ:BLUE) are soaring higher today after the company released updated abstract data in advance of the American Society of Hematology Annual Meeting that caused a handful of analysts to reaffirm their bullish outlook on the company's stock.
So what: bluebird released data yesterday related to its ongoing preclinical oncology work with its collaboration partner Celgene (NASDAQ:CELG), giving investors their first look at how the experimental anti-BCMA CAR therapy performs in patients with myeloma. bluebird and Celgene's anti-BCMA therapy was able to generated a positive response or keep the diseases stable in several of the patients who are using treatment, which is a promising sign when considering that the patients who are using the therapy had previously used an average of 7 other treatments before giving bluebird & Celgene's therapy a go.
The data appears to have reignited analysts interest in bluebird. Two analyst firms, Wedbush and Cowen, reaffirmed their 'outperform' ratings on the stock today. Wedbush went so far as to slap a $165 price target on the company, which is more than 100% higher than the roughly $80 stub that shares are currently fetching on the open market.
Now what: It's been a rough couple of months for bluebird bio shareholders as its stock has crashed by more than 50% since peaking in price over the summer. Today's move should provide at least some relief to longer term investors. However, it's important to remember bluebird's cancer programs are currently in the very early stages, so years of work remain ahead for the company before it may bring in any sort of product revenue. In addition, while this update mentioned both bluebird bio and Celgene, it's important to remember that their collaboration in cancer immuno-therapy has been scaled back after Celgene made a substantial investment another CAR-T developer earlier this year.
Looking ahead, the company will be presenting updated data at the American Society of Hematology meeting next month related to its trials testing LentiGlobin in patients with sickle cell disease, which is much further along in development than its cancer work, so bluebird's investors should probably be mentally preparing themselves for more volatility in the coming weeks.
Brian Feroldi has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Celgene. The Motley Fool recommends Bluebird Bio. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.