Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Here's Why Editas Medicine Inc. Ticked Up Today

By Cory Renauer – Updated Mar 7, 2018 at 4:01PM

You’re reading a free article with opinions that may differ from The Motley Fool’s Premium Investing Services. Become a Motley Fool member today to get instant access to our top analyst recommendations, in-depth research, investing resources, and more. Learn More

Post-earnings call upgrades are providing some lift.

What happened

Shares of Editas Medicine Inc. (EDIT -5.13%), a preclinical-stage biotech developing drugs with CRISPR-Cas9 technology, are on the move following a positive fourth-quarter earnings report after the bell on Tuesday. The stock rose 12.5% in midday trading and was still up 9.7% at 3:21 p.m. EST on Wednesday.

So what 

Editas pleased investors with word its lead candidate, EDIT-101, for treatment of LCA10 remains on track for a clinical trial enabling investigational new drug (IND) filing in the middle of the year. The company's oncology-driven partner Juno Therapeutics (JUNO) intends to move a T-cell medicine to treat solid tumors associated with human papillomavirus later this year.

Man in a suit pointing up at one of multiple monitors while another man listens to him and looks at the same monitor.

Image source: Getty Images.

Celgene (CELG) should close on its $10 billion acquisition of Juno soon, which means there's plenty of funding available to keep a partnered candidate moving through regulatory hurdles as fast as possible. 

Now what

Analysts at Barclays raised their price target for Editas to $46 and JMP Securities went even further and increased its target to $67. The latter implies a $3.0 billion market cap, which is an insane price to pin on any drugmaker that hasn't tried giving its drugs to people yet. 

Editas intends to have at least two candidates in late-stage clinical trials by 2022. Hitting that goal would most likely support today's lofty new price targets, but the odds of getting there are historically slim. Less than a tenth of new drug candidates make it from preclinical testing to a late-stage trial. Until we have some safety and efficacy data from real patients, it might be best to wait until CRISPR mania dies down a bit.

Cory Renauer owns shares of Celgene. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Celgene. The Motley Fool recommends Editas Medicine. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Premium Investing Services

Invest better with The Motley Fool. Get stock recommendations, portfolio guidance, and more from The Motley Fool's premium services.