Leerink upgrades Intellia Therapeutics to outperform

Leerink Partners upgraded Intellia Therapeutics (NASDAQ:NTLA) to “outperform” from “market perform” on valuation, with a price target of $32. The stock closed at $17.66 on Thursday.

“We believe the current valuation, close to the mid-point of the IPO range of $16-$18, represents an attractive entry point to own one of the most exciting technology platforms biotech has to offer,” writes analyst Michael Schmidt.

Intellia is a leader in the development of CRISPR/Cas9-based genome editing therapeutics. “Intellia’s platform has, in our view, disruptive potential that could significantly expand the potential of existing genome therapeutics,” he added.

Mr. Schmidt also has a positive view of Intellia’s risk-diversified pipeline strategy and partnerships with Novartis, which is focused on ex vivo CAR-T cell and hematopoietic stem cell applications, and Regeneron Pharmaceutical, which includes up to 10 targets focused on liver and non-liver, serve as strong validation for the platform and IP position.

“We’re positive on the huge potential of the technology, Intellia’s management and strategy long term, with the caveat that the technology is still in early development stages,” he added.