Juno Therapeutics Inc (JUNO) to Acquire Immune Sequencing company AbVitro for $125 Million

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Shares of Juno Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ:JUNO) are lower today in mid-morning trading after the company annunced that they will be acquiring the immune sequencing spinout from Harvard University, AbVitro, for approximately $125 million in stock and cash. Juno Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ:JUNO) hopes that this acquisition will help them further their initiatives to discover new cancer immunotherapies, and bring this new technology into their colloboration with Celgene.

“This changes the way, on a basic level for us, how we can interrogate the immune system and its natural responses to cancer,” Harr said. “Number one, you’re faster. Two, you’re better. And three, you can go much broader.”

This acquisition by Juno will certainly lead to a big payday for the early investors and founders of AbVitro, who raised just over $3 million in total since 2012. The stock is down 3.82% or $1.39 following the news, hitting $35 per share. Approximately 199,733 shares traded hands. JUNO shares have declined 46.77% since June 5, 2015 and are currently downtrending. It has underperformed the S&P500 by 42.08%.

From a total of 5 analysts covering Juno Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ:JUNO) stock, 4 rate it a “Buy”, 0 a “Sell”, and 1 a “Hold”. This means that 80% of the ratings are positive. The highest target price is $73 while the lowest target price is $47.0. The mean of all analyst targets is $60.14 which is 71.83% above today’s ($35) stock price. Juno Therapeutics Inc was the topic of 10 analyst reports since July 22, 2015 according to the firm StockzIntelligence Inc. Standpoint Research upgraded shares on December 15 to a “Buy” rating. Standpoint Research initiated shares with a”Buy” rating and a $47.0 target share price in their report from an August 24. FBR Capital initiated JUNO stock in a recent report from August 18 with a “Outperform” rating.

The institutional sentiment decreased to 0.95 in Q2 2015. It’s down 1.65, from 2.6 in 2015Q2. The ratio turned negative, as 59 funds sold all their Juno Therapeutics Inc shares they owned while 25 reduced their positions. 28 funds bought stakes while 52 increased their total positions. Institutions now own 25.57 million shares which is 25.97% more than the previous share count of 20.30 million in 2015Q2.

Sound Energy Partners Inc. holds 2.12% of its total portfolio in Juno Therapeutics Inc, equating to 25,800 shares. Bb Biotech Ag owns 1.31 million shares representing 1.68% of their total US portfolio. Moreover, Kazazian Asset Management Llc has 0.69% of their total portfolio invested in the company, equating to 13,376 shares. The Maryland-based Rock Springs Capital Management Lp has a total of 0.65% of their portfolio invested in the stock. Turner Investments L.P., a Pennsylvania-based fund reported 69,680 shares owned.

Juno Therapeutics, Inc. is a biopharmaceutical company. The company has a market cap of $3.52 billion. The Firm is developing cell cancer immunotherapies based on its chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) and T cell receptor (TCR) technologies to genetically engineer T cells to recognize and kill cancer cells. It currently has negative earnings. Juno’s product candidates, JCAR015, JCAR017 and JCAR014, utilize CAR technology to target CD19, a protein expressed on the surface of various B cell leukemias and lymphomas.

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