Why Ziopharm Oncology Stock Is Sinking Today

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What happened

Shares of Ziopharm Oncology (NASDAQ:ZIOP) had sank 10.2% as of 11:26 a.m. EST on Friday. The drop came after Jefferies downgraded the stock from buy to hold and lowered its one-year price target to $5.

So what

There’s both good news and bad news with this latest downgrade. Jefferies analyst Chris Howerton isn’t as optimistic about Ziopharm’s near-term prospects as he’s been in the past. But he still sees at least some upward potential for the biotech stock. His price target reflects a 14% premium over its current share price.

$1 bill folded into an arrow pointing downward

Image source: Getty Images.

Ziopharm has been through a lot of upheaval in recent months. Activist investor WaterMill Asset Management forced changes in the company’s board of directors and management. 

But the company has given investors reasons to be optimistic. Perhaps most important, the Food and Drug Administration cleared the way for Ziopharm to initiate phase 1/2 clinical studies evaluating its experimental T-cell receptor-engineered T cell (TCR-T) therapies.

Now what

The most important thing for Ziopharm shareholders to look forward to is the enrollment of patients in the clinical study of TCR-T therapies, which will begin in the second half of 2021. The company could also name a new CEO to take the place of interim CEO Heidi Hagen in the not-too-distant future.

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This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis — even one of our own — helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.



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