An Interpretive Guide to NewLink Genetics' Latest Sell-Side Upgrade

Stifel analyst Stephen Willey issued a new bullish note on NewLink Genetics ( NLNK) this morning. I'm here to help interpret what it all means.

The headline on Willey's note reads: Still Quite Comfortable with Valuation Here - Increasing Target Price to $53

Translation: Newlink has exceeded my previous $31-per-share price target and my director of research told me that I have "to do something about it."

Willey: We are now modeling approximately $1B of peak IDO pathway inhibitor sales.

Translation: Wow! I found some new money under Newlink's couch cushions.

Willey: While acknowledging the lack of an indication-specific registrational development plan admittedly limits our ability to accurately assess the true market opportunity here, we're more than comfortable with the preclinical data generated to date...

Translation: I have absolutely no idea how to accurately forecast peak sales for a product with a teeny amount of clinical data but $1 billion is a nice round number and reads well on the Bloomberg terminal.

Willey: We still view success at the first IMPRESS interim analysis as a low-probability event but believe the growing enthusiasm around the IDO story should mitigate any associated downside.

Translation: All my hedge fund clients think dendritic cancer vaccines suck and Newlink's algenpantucel-L is no exception, so yeah, the phase III study will probably fail but buy the stock anyway because IDOs are the new checkpoint inhibitors!

Adam Feuerstein writes regularly for TheStreet. In keeping with company editorial policy, he doesn't own or short individual stocks, although he owns stock in TheStreet. He also doesn't invest in hedge funds or other private investment partnerships. Feuerstein appreciates your feedback; click here to send him an email.

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