Roth starts Atara Biotherapeutics at buy; PT $30

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Roth Capital Partners launched coverage of Atara Biotherapeutics (NASDAQ:ATRA) with a “buy” rating and price target of $30. The stock closed at $23.30 on May 29.

Atara has successfully built a clinical pipeline of off-the-shelf allogeneic T-cell immunotherapies with late-stage clinical programs underway. The company also has broadened its pipeline to include a suite of next generation CAR-T therapies that “we believe hold significant value,” writes analyst Tony Butler.

Atara’s lead off-the-shelf T-cell therapy is Tab-cel (tabelecleucel), which is being developed for Epstein-Barr virus-associated post-transplant lymphoproliferative disorders (EBV-PTLD), and for the treatment of other EBV-associated tumors.

The EBV-PTLD program is in Phase 3 and a marketing authorization application is expected to be filed in the EU during 2020.

Mr. Butler said Atara also has two Phase 1 clinical programs in development for multiple sclerosis. In addition, the company has two early clinical stage programs for the treatment of refractory congenital cytomegalovirus infection and for hematological malignancies.

Stephen Kilmer