Basketball isn’t the first thing that springs to mind when considering the coronavirus, but according to BTIG’s Amanda Murphy, what we need right now is the “Michael Jordan” of COVID-19 antibodies.
The analyst believes Adaptive Biotechnologies (ADPT) might just be the player with the mercurial abilities needed. The company has formed several alliances to fight COVID-19, and is tackling the virus from two different angles, both on the diagnostic and therapeutic front.
On the diagnostic side, Adaptive has formed a number of partnerships to further research the immune system’s response to COVID-19. These include LabCorp, whose mobile phlebotomy capabilities can pick up samples from COVID-19 positive or recovered patients. LabCorp is also providing its CRO (contract research organization), Covance, to oversee the trial. Microsoft, which has contributed its AI platform, and Illumina, which is providing the technology to sequence the virus mapped to COVID-19 specific antigens identified by Adaptive's immunoSEQ Dx platform. Additionally, Providence, a large health system with 51 hospitals (including the one near Seattle that treated the first U.S. COVID-19 patient), is providing access to patients.
Murphy believes the unprecedented amount of collaboration between the different companies could yield the much-needed quick response. The analyst argues that antibody-based testing will be vital in getting the country up and running again.
“It is still unknown how many asymptomatic patients have undergone sero-conversion and would therefore test positive under standard serology testing. Thus, with the potential development timeline for an antibody-based test developed by Adaptive expressed in months (as opposed to years), the ability to generate a more intelligent and accurate immune response assay would be meaningfully impactful in getting things back “to normal,” the analyst said.
Adaptive is also taking the fight to COVID-19 from a therapeutic angle. The company recently announced a collaboration with fellow biotech Amgen to identify neutralizing antibodies against COVID-19. “Adaptive is uniquely positioned with its platform to screen for B-cell receptors at the scale needed to identify neutralizing antibodies,” Murphy opined. Amgen’s experience of antibody development can then be used to develop therapeutics.
All in all, Murphy reiterated a Buy on Adaptive along with a $46 price target, which represents an impressive 78.5% upside from current levels. (To watch Murphy’s track record, click here)