Ladenburg starts Bellicum Pharma at buy

Ladenburg Thalmann initiated coverage of Bellicum Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:BLCM) with a “buy” rating and $31 price target. The stock closed at $19.16 on Nov. 29.

Bellicum is developing novel cellular immunotherapies for various forms of cancer and orphan inherited blood disorders. It applies its proprietary molecular switch technologies to engineer T-cell therapies and has developed a pipeline of differentiated T-cell products that may offer better safety control and/or efficacy, with multiple near-term milestones, writes analyst Wangzhi Li.

The company’s lead product, BPX-501, which are allogeneic T-cells and contain its iC9 suicide switch, is in a pivotal trial for use following haploidentical hematopoietic stem cell transplantation for various pediatric indications, with an expected marketing authorization application in Europe in 2018.

Its products, BPX-601 and BPX-701, are differentiated CAR-T and TCR-T therapies in Phase 1 studies for pancreatic cancers and AML/MDS, respectively.

“We recommend investors own Bellicum for both potential upside catalysts after ASH2016 and long-term appreciation potential of its robust pipeline and platform,” he added.