Why Shares in Juno Therapeutics Inc. Are Soaring

By Markets Fool.com

Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

Continue Reading Below

What
Shares in Juno Therapeutics jumped more than 15% today after Juno Therapeutics announced that it has acquired privately held X-BODY Biosciences to get its hands on X-BODY's T-cell engineering research.

So what
Juno Therapeutics is working on immuno-oncology medicine that could offer up an entirely new treatment approach to blood cancers like leukemia. The company has a host of drugs in the early stages of development, including JCAR015 for adult acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) and adult non-Hodgkins lymphoma.

JCAR015 is an immunotherapy that re-engineers a patient's T-cells so that they can more easily find and destroy cancer cells. Juno Therapeutics has previously reported that 89% of patients with relapsed ALL saw a complete remission.

Juno Therapeutics' acquisition of X-BODY could help improve upon those results by increasing Juno Therapeutics' capabilities to select appropriate antibodies, even against tough therapeutic targets. If so, then the drugmaker could design better drugs that cause fewer side effects.

Now what
Juno Therapeutics is obviously smitten with X-BODY's technology. The company is handing over $21 million in cash and 439,265 shares of Juno Therapeutics stock to acquire it.

Continue Reading Below

Although X-BODY's research could pay off down the road, it will be quite a while before we know whether there will be a commercially viable drug that can justify Juno Therapeutics' $4.85 billion market cap.

Because Juno Therapeutics is already arguably richly valued, and its research is in the early stages where a lot can (and often does) go wrong, I'm hesitant to chase it higher until we get more data to digest from its ongoing trials.

The article Why Shares in Juno Therapeutics Inc. Are Soaring originally appeared on Fool.com.

Todd Campbell has no position in any stocks mentioned. Todd owns the equity research firm E.B. Capital Markets, LLC. E.B. Capital's clients may or may not have positions in the companies mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.