What happened

Shares of the clinical-stage gene-therapy company Adverum Biotechnologies (NASDAQ:ADVM) rose by as much as 17.9% on heavy volume in early morning trading on Thursday. What's driving this double-digit move higher?

Investors have been steadily piling into this small-cap biotech ever since the combined Phase 1/2 clinical trial for its lead gene-therapy candidate, ADVM-043, got underway last December. In fact, Adverum's shares have now more than doubled since the middle of December. 

A gloved hand removing a section from a DNA molecule.

Image Source: Getty Images.

So what

Adverum's ADVM-043 is a gene therapy indicated for patients with the inherited lung and liver disorder known as alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency, or A1AT deficiency for short. While the therapy's likelihood of success in this early stage safety trial is a total unknown at this point, investors are clearly intrigued by the recent clinical breakthroughs by other gene-therapy companies like bluebird bio. and Spark Therapeutics. In short, Adverum's stock appears to be benefiting enormously from investors' growing appetites for all things gene therapy, right now.   

Now what

Adverum expects to release a preliminary peak at ADVM-043's early-stage trial before the end of this year. So investors won't have to wait that long to learn whether or not this tiny gene-therapy company actually has a viable platform.

Equally as important, Adverum also has more-than-enough cash in the bank to fund its operations for perhaps the next two years. That's key because it means the company shouldn't need to issue a momentum-killing secondary offering anytime soon. Adverum, therefore, appears set to continue pushing even higher in the days and weeks ahead.

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.