SVB Leerink starts Affimed at OP; PT $8

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SVB Leerink initiated coverage of Affimed NV (NASDAQ:AFMD) with an “outperform” rating and $8 price target. The stock closed at $4.17 on March 27.

“Our positive view is fuelled by the potential of the company’s novel pipeline of innate-cell engagers,” writes analyst Daina Graybosch.

She said Affimed is the leader in developing bispecific innate-cell engagers to harness the killing power of natural killer cells through antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity, and macrophages through antibody-dependent cellular phagocytosis.

“We view innate engagement as a step improvement on traditional and Fc- optimized monoclonal antibodies, including extending benefit to patients with low-antigen expressing tumors and/or immunosuppressive tumor microenvironments,” she added.

Ms. Graybosch said innate-cell engagement is potentially complementary to many other immuno-oncology mechanisms and “promising data from [Affimed’s] AFM13 plus pembrolizumab in Hodgkin lymphoma supports this hypothesis.”

A recent development partnership with Genentech provides strong validation of Affimed’s platform and “could translate into significant value creation, with potential for $5-billion in milestones,” she said.

Stephen Kilmer