Stifel starts AnaptysBio at buy

Stifel launched coverage of AnaptysBio (NASDAQ:ANAB) with a “buy” rating and $30 price target. The stock closed at $23.89 on Feb. 17.

“AnaptysBio, at its core, is a unique antibody generation company capable of directed expansion of monoclonal antibodies around a starting point,” writes analyst Thomas Shrader.

“The result is families of potential therapeutics that probably eclipse anything available by other methods, allowing for greater demands to be placed on ‘ideal’ candidates before the expensive stages of development start, such as very low immunogenicity and cross-species activity,” he added.

Mr. Shrader said the platform has yielded an antibody to the widely chased target, IL-33 (broad autoimmune applications, but very poorly immunogenic), as well as an attractive “replacement antibody” targeting IL-36R to treat crippling sub-forms of psoriasis.

“Beyond these lead programs, we expect a broad pipeline to emerge, and several impressive partners, including Celgene and Tesaro, [which] have already inked deals potentially worth $1.2-billion in future milestones,” he added.