Most CAR-T stocks rose on the news that Big Biotech Celgene has plans to acquire Juno: Cellectis rides the wave but Celyad misses it.
Shortly after the mega-acquisition of Kite by Gilead, the second prettiest girl at the CAR-T party, Juno Therapeutics, has accepted the advances of Celgene in a $9Bn (€7.4Bn) acquisition. This represents a bullish bet that Juno’s lead candidate will rake in $3Bn (€2.5Bn) in sales despite some hiccups and that CAR-T therapy will become a mainstay of oncology treatments; and it has driven up most CAR-T stocks. France-based Cellectis saw its share price rise 12% after the acquisition announcement and is holding steady, but its not-so-friendly Belgian competitor Celyad hasn’t enjoyed such a benefit. After a temporary spike, its share price returned to pre-news levels.
While the companies are neck-and-neck, there may be more confidence in Cellectis as the company with a clinical-stage allogeneic program with Servier and Pfizer as partners; Celyad has its own in preclinical stages that recently became the centrepiece of a deal with Novartis. Cellectis may simply have more name recognition after its 2016 publicity stunt, in which the company’s lead candidate reportedly saved two babies dying of leukemia. While this might benefit the shareholders, the biotech world has wised up to accepting such anecdotes as evidence since the questionable approval of Exondys 51.
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