Stifel initiated coverage of Cue Biopharma (NASDAQ:CUE) with a “buy” rating and $21 price target. The stock closed at $16.60, up $1.53, on April 8.
“We believe the Immuno-STAT platform from which the company’ wholly-owned and partnered pipeline of clinical/preclinical candidates is derived represents a highly-novel/versatile approach to selectively and safely harnessing the intrinsic immune response required for the treatment of cancer and autoimmune disease,” writes analyst Stephen Willey.
He said CUE-101 – the centerpiece of his investment thesis and valuation – has the potential to “transform the treatment of HPV-driven malignancies (via a combination of TCR specificity and IL-2-mediated activation) across a spectrum of major human leukocyte antigen allele subtypes.”
Mr. Willey also said he expects multiple 2020 data disclosures from the ongoing Phase 1 development program in patients with squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck to yield potentially “significant near-term value creation opportunities and improve visibility into the company’s ability to successfully leverage the modularity of the technology to fuel additional pipeline expansion.”
In addition, Mr. Willey said he views existing strategic partnerships with LG Chem (oncology) and Merck (autoimmune disease) as opportunities to both expand development/commercial breadth and provide longer-term access to non-dilutive capital.