Shares of Intellia Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ:NTLA), a genome editing start-up, rose 33.7% in January, according to data from S&P Global Market Intelligence. It was a huge month for CRISPR-Cas9 related stocks generally -- for no particular reason -- and Intellia benefited.
So far, Intellia has shown it can get CRISPR/Cas9 genome-edited hematopoietic stem cells to boost fetal hemoglobin production by 80% to 95% when those cells are transplanted into mice, among other pre-clinical achievements. Unfortunately, the company still can't say when it will be ready to test a candidate derived from its drug-discovery platform in humans.
Roughly 1% of novel candidates in pre-clinical development ever make it to an FDA review, and just a fraction of those go on to become blockbuster drugs. Yet despite such long odds, Intellia's market cap is a head-scratching $956 million at the moment.
As is common with hot new biomedical technologies, stocks pegged to the underlying tech tend to make dramatic moves on any related news. So what might have been biggest reason for investors to get excited about Intellia and its peers last month didn't come from the biotechs themselves. Intellia, Editas Medicine (NASDAQ:EDIT), and Crispr Therapeutics (NASDAQ:CRSP) all started rising after The Wall Street Journal published a report that suggested Chinese investigators had begun human studies of experimental therapies developed using CRISPR-Cas9 gene-editing techniques years ago.
So far, Crispr Therapeutics is the first among its peers to give us a timeline for beginning human trials: The tentative front-runner in the niche intends to start them later this year in partnership with Vertex Pharmaceuticals. Intellia sports a couple high-profile partnerships as well.
Regeneron signed a 10-target deal with Intellia back in 2016 and wants to begin with a transthyretin-related amyloidosis (ATTR) candidate. But neither company has indicated when it expects to file an initial new drug application for their ATTR candidate, which the FDA must approve before they can begin clinical trials.
10 stocks we like better than Intellia Therapeutics
When investing geniuses David and Tom Gardner have a stock tip, it can pay to listen. After all, the newsletter they have run for over a decade, Motley Fool Stock Advisor, has tripled the market.*
David and Tom just revealed what they believe are the 10 best stocks for investors to buy right now... and Intellia Therapeutics wasn't one of them! That's right -- they think these 10 stocks are even better buys.
Click here to learn about these picks!
*Stock Advisor returns as of February 5, 2018
- Here's Why CRISPR Stocks Rose as Much as 18.7% in August
- This Start-Up Thinks It Can Tackle One of CRISPR's Biggest Obstacles
- Intellia Therapeutics, Inc. Stock History: The Story of a CRISPR Gene Editing Pioneer
- Here's Why CRISPR Stocks Are Down as Much as 11.4% Today
- Yet Another CRISPR Worry: What Should Investors Do?