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NewLink Genetics' shares surge after upgrade, seen as takeover target

Charles Link, chief executive officer and founder of NewLink Genetics.
Victor J. Blue | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Charles Link, chief executive officer and founder of NewLink Genetics.

Shares of cancer drug developer NewLink Genetics climbed more than 8 percent at one point Thursday after the stock was upgraded in anticipation of positive data from upcoming product trials.

SunTrust Robinson Humphrey analyst Peter Lawson upgraded NewLink Shares to buy from hold and raised his price target to $30 from $12 per share. The stock closed Thursday priced around $23 per share.

Lawson said NewLink is "well positioned" as a potential takeover target, with its shares up more than 100 percent over the past 3 months.

SunTrust "sees further upside, driven by data and interest in late stage assets," Lawson said, adding that the stock has rebounded quicker than he expected after suffering a clinical trial failure.

NewLink is one among a handful of companies in the so-called IDO inhibitor space, which is helping further cancer therapies.

Thursday marked the stock's fourth consecutive day of gains, and it was on pace for its best day since March 2, when shares gained more than 17 percent.

The Iowa-based biopharmaceutical company went public in November 2011 at $7 per share, and it's now up roughly 234 percent since then.

With Thursday's gains, the stock is now up more than 120 percent for the year.

NLNK year-to-date performance

Source: FactSet