What happened

Gene therapy specialist Sangamo Therapeutics (NASDAQ:SGMO) trounced the market in January, jumping 27% compared to a 6% increase in the S&P 500, according to data provided by S&P Global Market Intelligence.

The surge helped the stock approach the all-time high that shareholders last saw in early 2014. Sangamo has risen more than 400% in just the past 52 weeks.

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So what

Investors sent shares higher last month following a presentation by management that detailed several promising drug and treatment products it was working on, including one gene editing approach to battle HIV and another aimed at eradicating a metabolic disease called Hunter syndrome.

Two clinical researchers at work using a microscope.

Image source: Getty Images.

Now what

Less than a month later, Sangamo added to the optimism by revealing progress in its current test of the Hunter syndrome treatment in two patients. That constitutes the first clinical trial of gene editing therapies in the United States, and so far the infusions have gone well, doctors said, with "no concerning safety issues" coming up.

It's impossible to quantify the value of this early stage research, but investors have been rewarding Sangamo for having the most advanced pipeline in this potentially game-changing arena of medical research.

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