Oppenheimer: 3 Stocks That Could Surge Over 100% From Current Levels
So far, September has been a wild ride of ups and downs. Following the recent bout of volatility, stocks have ticked higher again. But as uncertainty regarding another rescue program and the presidential election continues to linger, where does the market go from here? Weighing in for Oppenheimer, Chief Investment Strategist John Stoltzfus argues that any market dips appear “relatively contained and orderly,” and present longer-term investors the chance to find “babies that got thrown out with the bathwater.” He noted, “For nervous investors the recent downdraft has presented opportunity to take some profits without FOMO (fear of missing out).”As for the tech heavyweights that powered the market’s five-month charge forward, the strategist believes “current expectations that technology stocks will remain under pressure for some time seem exaggerated.” Stoltzfus adds that the “core of technology stocks did not appear terribly rich in price considering that developments in technology and innovation have yet to show signs of plateauing in the current cycle.”Taking Stoltzfus’ outlook into consideration, our focus turned to stocks that Oppenheimer analysts are bullish on. The firm’s pros see triple-digit upside potential in store for three tickers in particular. Running the names through TipRanks’ database, we wanted to find out what makes each so compelling.MediWound Ltd. (MDWD)Developing cutting-edge products, MediWound wants to address unmet needs in the fields of severe burn and chronic wound management. With an important government contract secured, Oppenheimer has high hopes for this name.Back in January, MDWD announced that the U.S. Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) had entered into a contract to procure $16.5 million of NexoBrid, its drug designed to remove eschar in adults with deep partial and full-thickness thermal burns (a process called debridement), for an emergency stockpile. According to management, the first delivery is set for Q3 2020.On top of this, the company filed the NexoBrid Biologics License Application (BLA) with the FDA for eschar removal in adults with deep partial-thickness and full-thickness thermal burns in June. MDWD’s U.S. commercial partner, Vericel, is preparing for an immediate launch upon approval.Representing Oppenheimer, 5-star analyst Kevin DeGeeter points out that “Given the filing involved participation from three parties—MDWD, U.S. commercial partner Vericel and funding partners at BARDA—and was completed against the backdrop of public sector work-from-home mandates, we view meeting stated timelines as a material milestone and derisking event for MDWD shares… we believe NexoBrid is on track for 1H21 launch.”Should the therapy ultimately be approved, MDWD is entitled to a $7.5 million milestone payment from Vericel. “We believe the combination of existing cash and the $7.5 million milestone payment from VCEL upon NexoBrid approval should fund operations at least into 2H23,” DeGeeter added.DeGeeter also points out that MDWD plans to open 25-30 sites in U.S. and Israel to support the Phase 2 study of EscharEx, its product for chronic wounds. Although COVID-19 resulted in a delay, the analyst thinks “the current timeline of 1H21 is achievable.”To this end, DeGeeter rates MDWD an Outperform along with a $7 price target. Should his thesis play out, a potential twelve-month gain of 117% could be in the cards. (To watch DeGeeter’s track record, click here)All in all, other analysts echo DeGeeter’s sentiment. 4 Buys and no Holds or Sells add up to a Strong Buy consensus rating. With an average price target of $6.63, the upside potential comes in at 106%. (See MDWD stock analysis on TipRanks)UroGen Pharma (URGN)Primarily focused on uro-oncology, UroGen Pharma develops advanced non-surgical treatments to improve the lives of patients. As the launch of one of its products is progressing well, Oppenheimer thinks that now is the time to get on board.Writing for the firm, analyst Leland Gershell points to UGN-101 as a key component of his bullish thesis. UGN-101, which has now been formally launched in the U.S. under the commercial name Jelmyto, was designed as a treatment for low-grade upper tract urothelial carcinoma (LG UTUC). The analyst highlights that Jelmyto’s launch is already off to a solid start, as eight patients had received 20 doses of the drug in June.“Jelmyto sales were $371,000 in its first month of launch, but more important was management’s commentary that over 100 urology practice sites are treatment-ready for the product, and that patient demand has not been visibly impacted by COVID-19,” Gershell explained.Adding to the good news, permanent C- and J-codes, which are expected in October and January 2021, respectively, could bolster sales, in Gershell’s opinion. The label could also be updated to reflect completed OLYMPUS data.It should be noted that patient and physician engagement could remain diminished through YE20, and restrictions around elective surgeries could persist, according to Gershell. That said, he argues that “LG UTUC’s lack of surgical urgency could imply treatment deferral for several months, whereas Jelmyto’s ability to be administered in an outpatient setting could expedite treatment, favoring adoption.”If that wasn’t enough, UGN-102, its mitomycin gel that targets low-grade intermediate risk non-muscle invasive bladder cancer (LG IR-NMIBC), is set to enter pivotal testing before the end of 2020. Looking at previously released data, the therapy achieved a 65% complete response (CR) rate at three months following onset of treatment. “To offset any potential COVID-19 impact on enrollment, URGN has increased the number of clinical trial sites outside of the U.S., in those countries where virus-related clinical delays have not cropped up,”Gershell added.Summing it all up, Gershell commented, “We believe shares trade at a discount to the value of Jelmyto and UGN-102, and that revenue growth will support stock upside over the next 12 months.”To this end, Gershell stands with the bulls, reiterating an Outperform rating. At $48, his price target brings the upside potential to 123%. (To watch Gershell’s track record, click here)What does the rest of the Street have to say? 3 Buy ratings and 1 Hold have been issued in the last three months. As a result, URGN receives a Strong Buy consensus rating. In addition, the $44 average price target suggests 104% upside potential. (See URGN stock analysis on TipRanks)Ayala Pharmaceuticals Inc. (AYLA)Last but not least we have Ayala Pharmaceuticals, which is focused on developing targeted therapies for cancers in which Notch activation is a known tumor driver. Based on the progress across its development pipeline, Oppenheimer sees big gains in store.Oppenheimer analyst Jay Olson thinks AYLA’s technology makes it a stand-out. Its two candidates, AL101 and AL102, which are in-licensed from Bristol Myers, are gamma-secretase inhibitors that target aberrant activation of Notch signaling in cancer cells.Notch signaling plays an important role in normal cell development, and perturbations can cause malignant transformation. “We believe Notch targeted therapies hold promise in addressing unmet clinical needs,” Olson commented.The analyst added, “The Notch mutational landscape is diverse, and the underlying science is evolving. AYLA is building a bioinformatics database around Notch to better characterize and identify Notch-activating mutations. Additionally, AYLA is collaborating with partners developing diagnostic tests for Notch-activating mutations, both at DNA and RNA levels. We believe these initiatives benefit AYLA in the long term by identifying responders and expanding the addressable patient population.”Despite the challenges presented by COVID-19, critical catalysts remain on track. The company is set to present new interim data from the Phase 2 ACCURACY open-label study of AL101 in R/M ACC at the mini oral head and neck cancer section of ESMO. Looking at the available data, a recent interim analysis in one cohort showed 69% DCR.As for the second cohort, it is evaluating a 6mg once-weekly dosing of AL101. “We view the efficacy and safety data from the 6mg dosing cohort as important for the registration-enabling studies, and we anticipate similar interim data readout in 1H21,” Olson said.Adding to the good news, AYLA is on track to kick off patient dosing in the Phase 2 TENACITY study of AL101 in R/M TNBC by YE20 after the IND was cleared by the FDA in April. In 2021, AYLA plans to initiate two additional Phase 2 studies including AL102 for desmoid tumors and AL101 for r/r T-ALL.“Springworks Therapeutics recently announced the completion of patient enrollment of the Phase 3 DeFi trial of nirogacestat in desmoid tumors with topline data expected mid-2021, which should provide read-across to AYLA’s AL102 program,” Olson noted.Given all of the above, Olson opined, “We’re encouraged by AYLA’s advantages along several dimensions, including its drug candidates, cancer indication selection, and focus on identifying Notch-activating mutations while developing diagnostics. AYLA’s Notch targeted approach should address unmet clinical needs for patients with rare but aggressive cancers.”It should come as no surprise, then, that Olson stayed with the bulls. To this end, he kept an Outperform rating and $23 price target on the stock, implying 123% upside potential. (To watch Olson’s track record, click here)Looking at the consensus breakdown, 2 Buys and 1 Hold have been published in the last three months. Therefore, AYLA gets a Moderate Buy consensus rating. Based on the $19.83 average price target, shares could climb 92% higher in the next year. (See AYLA stock analysis on TipRanks)To find good ideas for stocks trading at attractive valuations, visit TipRanks’ Best Stocks to Buy, a newly launched tool that unites all of TipRanks’ equity insights.Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the featured analysts. The content is intended to be used for informational purposes only. It is very important to do your own analysis before making any investment.
The CIA sent a team of 4 operators on a spy mission targeting China. None came back.
As Hurricane Higos blew in from the Pacific, Stephen Stanek, a covert CIA operative, faced a decision. It was time to either cancel the operation he was running or go forward with it. The hurricane was barreling through the Philippines but was then projected to veer north and miss their area of operation.
Stanek’s partner for the operation, a younger man named Michael Perich, had recently graduated from the Merchant Marine Academy. A football player at the academy, Perich was now at the beginning of his career in paramilitary operations and had just recently been trained as a scuba diver.
Two other men were aboard their 40-foot vessel, Jamie McCormick and Daniel Meeks, both in supporting roles. Stanek, a retired Navy ordnance disposal diver, was highly experienced but had only recently attained his license to be a ship captain, according to those who knew him.
The crew had spent the last several days sailing up the coast of the Philippines after departing Malaysia in what was to be the maiden voyage of their ship, which was secretly owned by the CIA’s Maritime Branch.
Their cover story for the 2008 mission was that a client in Japan had bought the vessel, and the crew had been hired to transport it there from Malaysia. They had paperwork and documentation to back up the story if questioned.
Their actual target was a small piece of land to the north of Luzon, the Philippines’ largest island. The CIA believed the Chinese military was occupying this small island in an area that has been hotly disputed. The U.S. in recent years has closely watched China’s military moves in the South China Sea, particularly as Beijing has built up artificial islands on reefs and atolls that were once barely visible at low tide in order to extend its territorial claims.
Stanek and Perich planned to dive on the island using commercial scuba gear that would be deniable in the event they were captured, whether by the Chinese or anyone else. There were to be no U.S. government fingerprints on any of their activities. Deployed from the small ship, the two divers would emplace a “pod” disguised as a rock and stuffed with classified technology just beneath the surface of the waves. It would then passively monitor electronic signals of Chinese naval ships.
Once they returned to their ship, the crew would head for Japan, where they would cool their heels for a few weeks before returning and retrieving the device.
Stanek would have closely examined the onboard weather radar system in those final moments before making his decision. According to his Navy service records as well as friends and teammates, Stanek was a patriot and a mentor, the kind of sailor admired by his peers for his hard work and can-do attitude.
But he was also under pressure to make it work. The mission wasn’t just about placing a device on one island, it was a proof of concept that would demonstrate the continued relevance of the CIA’s Maritime Branch.
The mission came as Maritime Branch was struggling to prove its reason for existence. Several U.S. Navy programs also made use of “covered” maritime assets, meaning ships that hid behind commercial cover. The CIA’s Maritime Branch was essentially in competition with the Navy, and this mission would help prove its worth.
It’s impossible to know how much that played into Stanek’s decision, but gambling that the storm would change course as meteorologists predicted, he decided to go forward with the covert operation.
The maritime company that officially employed Stanek and the other crew members sits at the end of a quiet road in Panama City, Fla. It is surrounded by a barbed wire fence and plastic slats to prevent anyone from seeing inside. Incorporated in 1983, the company claims on paper to buy and sell boats, yet it never seems to have any in its marina.
Local residents say they have no idea what the company does, and phone calls to its office were not returned.
The company is, in fact, a commercial cover for the CIA’s Maritime Branch, according to a former CIA employee. “We build these companies from whole cloth, from the ground up,” the former CIA employee told Yahoo News, which is not identifying its name, since it is still used in ongoing covert operations.
Maritime Branch is one of the CIA’s paramilitary components. Nestled within the agency’s organizational structure is the Special Activities Division, today known as the Special Activities Center, which includes Special Operations Group (SOG), which conducts paramilitary operations, and Covert Influence Group (CIG), which specializes in disinformation and propaganda operations.
SOG has three paramilitary branches. Air Branch covertly maintains fleets of helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft all over the world, including the CIA-operated, Russian-made helicopters that ran logistics and delivered troops in Afghanistan during and after the 2001 invasion. Ground Branch functions as the CIA’s version of Special Forces but operates under the agency’s covert action authorities; it often works in tandem with operations officers (the agency’s spies) and, at times, the U.S. military. Once filled with former Marines, today Ground Branch is home to many former Delta Force operators.
Maritime Branch covertly operates sea vessels in South America, West Africa and a few other locations. They can be used to extract CIA officers or their assets if called upon. “Maritime Branch was trying to become relevant again in SOG and SAD,” a former CIA officer said, “because mostly it was just a place for former SEALs to hang out with between Ground Branch tours.”
On Sept. 28, 2008, Stanek made the call to push forward with the operation. The hurricane was predicted to take a sharp turn away from them, even though they were currently in its trajectory. It was a calculated risk.
The 40-foot ship seemed small in open waters, and it must have seemed even smaller when the unthinkable happened. Hurricane Higos did not change its trajectory but instead barreled down on the four men. At that point it didn’t matter which direction they attempted to turn, they were going to get broadsided by the storm regardless.
The CIA had a beacon on the ship that tracked the boat right into the center of the hurricane until it disappeared, a former SAD member told Yahoo News.
U.S. military personnel in the region remained oblivious to the CIA’s failed covert operation and had no part in any recovery efforts. The CIA coordinated with the Japanese Self-Defense Forces to have their ships make some sweeps to find the missing personnel. Nothing was ever found, “not even a floating life jacket,” a former CIA officer recalled.
One of Stanek’s old dive buddies from the Navy was at a bar in Panama City with friends when they got a call about his death. “We all knew better than to ask questions,” the former Navy diver said.
Stateside, the families of the deceased, who didn’t even know their husbands and sons had been working for the CIA, had to be informed about what had happened. Internally, the CIA officers blamed the mission failure and deaths of four of their men on Bob Kandra, the SAD chief at the time.
“There was a lot of pressure to do ops,” a former CIA operations officer explained. “They just didn’t have to die. They did a mission that you didn’t have to do, and Bob was such a bad leader. A lot of officers blame Kandra for the shit that happened in the Pacific.”
His blemishes and mistakes were glossed over because he was senior intelligence staff when he ran the Special Activities Division, according to the former operations officer.
Kandra had a reputation for poor leadership dating back to his days in Iraq, when he had T-shirts made that read, “I got laid in Baghdad.” That intensified after he was elevated to the CIA’s senior management ranks, known as special intelligence service, or SIS, according to two former agency employees. “He was protected by the SIS mafia,” said a former SAD officer.
“Kandra was a continuous screw-up, but once they make you a SIS they don’t flush you,” the former CIA officer agreed.
Kandra did not respond to messages sent through email and social media to accounts publicly linked to him, and Yahoo News was unable to reach him through a phone number listed under his name. The CIA declined to comment about the mission or allegations about Kandra’s performance.
However, the covert operation maintained its cover, even in the aftermath of a catastrophic failure. Death certificates were quietly issued with a lawyer hired by the CIA’s Panama City cover company filing the paperwork.
A few months after the men’s deaths, the CIA flew their families to the Washington, D.C., area and put them up in a hotel in Tyson’s Corner, Va. The CIA didn’t want them going around the city by themselves and potentially revealing why they were there. Once they were checked in, CIA employees met with them in a private room, and for the first time they were told that their loved ones had died during a secret CIA mission.
However, the explanations were less than satisfying for some of the relatives.
Perich’s grandmother was crying and desperate for hope that Michael could still be alive, according to a CIA officer who was present. She wanted to believe that maybe the Chinese government had kidnapped them, though it was clear they had died in the hurricane. “They had questions no one could answer,” the former CIA officer said of their desire to know what exactly had transpired in the middle of the hurricane.
The next day, the families visited CIA headquarters at Langley, Va., and met Director Michael Hayden and members of Maritime Branch. There was also a ceremony at the memorial wall, a slab of white marble with stars chiseled into it, each representing a CIA officer or proprietary contract employee who died in the line of duty since the agency’s inception. Of the 135 stars on the wall, many are now named in the display book beneath it. Others remain anonymous, the details of the CIA employees’ deaths classified to this day.
In 2008, six anonymous stars were added to the wall. Four of them belong to Stephen Stanek, Michael Perich, Jamie McCormick and Daniel Meeks. The surviving family members declined to speak to the press when contacted by Yahoo News. A spokeswoman for the CIA declined to comment, citing the classified nature of the agency’s operations.
More than a decade after the operation, many in the CIA felt that Kandra, who has since retired, was never held to account for the deaths. Eventually he was removed from SAD and sent to a low-pressure job in Vienna, Austria. But he was pulled from that station as well over what one former CIA operations officer described as Kandra’s “chaos as a leadership style.”
In the meantime, a new Cold War has continued to play out in the South China Sea. In 2016, the Chinese Navy plucked an American-made undersea drone out of the ocean that appeared to have been monitoring one of their ships 50 miles off the coast of the Philippines. This may indicate that, much like the CIA’s drone program over Pakistan, and elsewhere, the undersea espionage taking place in the South China Sea has been automated, conducted with robots that limit the risk to human life.
The Pentagon asked for the drone back, claiming it was an unclassified system used to gather oceanographic data. The Chinese obliged and turned it over to the U.S. Navy in international waters four days later. Even if that particular mission ended in capture by the Chinese, no one died.
Read more from Yahoo News:
‘RBG’ Directors On How Ruth Bader Ginsburg Wanted To Be Remembered
Betsy West and Julie Cohen, who directed RBG, the feature-length documentary about Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, reacted Friday to Ginsburg’s death Friday at age 87.
“Like so many Americans, we are crushed by the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg,” West and Cohen said in a joint statement. “Even had she not become a Supreme Court Justice, Ginsburg earned a place in history for what she did to win equality for American women. When we asked her several years ago how she wanted to be remembered, she said with characteristic modesty, ‘Just as someone who did whatever she could, with whatever limited talent she had, to move society along in the direction I would like it to be for my children and grandchildren.’ ”
RBG was a buzzed title already before it world premiered at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival, where Ginsburg was treated like a rock star when she landed in Park City for the debut.
The film, which was acquired at the festival by Magnolia Pictures and Participant Media, went on to gross $14.4 million at the global box office and earned a pair of Oscars noms (for Feature Documentary and Diane Warren’s Original Song “I’ll Fight”) as well as shared an Emmy for Exceptional Merit in Documentary Filmmaking after it aired on CNN.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg: A Career In Pictures – Photo Gallery
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Immunomedics drug Trodelvy extends survival in breast cancer patients
By Manojna Maddipatla
Sept 19 (Reuters) – Immunomedics Inc’s cancer drug Trodelvy, which received accelerated U.S. regulatory approval in April, extended survival time in previously treated patients with an advanced form of breast cancer in a clinical trial, the company said on Saturday.
The positive new data could improve Immunomedics’ chances of winning full U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for Trodelvy, the lead drug of the Morris Plains, New Jersey-based cancer drugmaker. Immunomedics is being acquired by Gilead Sciences Inc for $21 billion under a deal announced on Sept. 14.
The FDA granted the drug accelerated approval for its use in metastatic triple-negative breast cancer (mTNBC) patients who had previously received at least two prior therapies. Its continued approval is contingent upon the FDA’s verification of a clinical benefit in confirmatory trials.
Trodelvy reduced the risk of death by 52 percent, with a median overall survival of 12.1 months for patients receiving the drug in the late-stage confirmatory trial compared to 6.7 months for patients receiving chemotherapy, Immunomedics said.
Immunomedics said it would file for full FDA approval of Trodelvy in the fourth quarter under the FDA’s Real-Time Oncology Review (RTOR) process that allows the agency to review the data before the company submits its marketing application.
Trodelvy is an antibody-drug conjugate that delivers an anti-cancer drug called SN-38 directly to cancer cells by binding to a protein called Trop-2 found on their surface.
It is also being tested in multiple ongoing clinical trials for its potential use against urothelial cancer, non-small cell lung cancer and other forms of breast cancer, the company said.
Trodelvy’s current label carries a boxed warning – the FDA’s harshest – that flags risks of severe diarrhea and neutropenia, an abnormally low count of a type of white blood cells.
The results were due to be presented at the European Society for Medical Oncology meeting on Saturday, the company said.
(Reporting by Manojna Maddipatla in Bengaluru; Editing by Will Dunham)
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