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Editas Gears Up for a Busy 2019

By Steve Symington – May 8, 2019 at 5:28PM

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With an upcoming phase 1/2 trial, new medicines in development, and new strategic collaborations, the gene-editing leader is framing an exciting year.

Editas Medicine (EDIT 0.66%) released first-quarter 2019 results on Tuesday after the market closed. The genome-editing leader highlighted the continued march of its primary EDIT-101 drug candidate, for treating Leber congenital amaurosis type 10 (LCA10), toward a historic dose-escalation study later this year; progress on its earlier stage medicine-development initiatives; and a promising new partnership to further extend its reach.

With shares down up around 2% on Wednesday in response, let's have a closer look at what Editas Medicine accomplished over the past few months.

Strand of DNA with a section being inserted

IMAGE SOURCE: GETTY IMAGES.

Editas Medicine results: The raw numbers

Metric

Q1 2019

Q1 2018

Year-Over-Year Growth

Collaboration and other R&D revenue

$2.069 million

$3.927 million

(47.3%)

GAAP net income (loss)

($29.249 million)

($30.939 million)

N/A

GAAP net income (loss) per share

($0.60)

($0.67)

N/A

Data source: Editas Medicine. R&D = research and development; GAAP = generally accepted accounting principles.

What happened with Editas Medicine this quarter?

  • The top-line decline was driven by a $1 million decrease in revenue recognized under Editas' collaboration with Juno Therapeutics, as well as a $0.9 million decline in revenue recognized under its alliance with Allergan.
  • R&D expenses decreased 25% to $15.8 million, driven by lower process, platform-development, and stock-based compensation costs.
  • Editas ended the quarter with cash, cash equivalents and marketable securities of $342.1 million, down from $369 million at the end of 2018, but still good for at least two years of funding for operating expenses and capital expenditures.
  • EDIT-101 remains on track to enroll 18 patients, aged 3 and above, in a phase 1/2 open-label, dose-escalation study in the second half of this year. As a reminder, this would mark the first-ever in vivo (editing inside the body) CRISPR medicine administered to patients.
  • Editas officially initiated IND-enabling activities (an "IND" is an Investigational New Drug) for an experimental medicine to treat sickle cell disease and beta-thalassemia, presenting data demonstrating the advantages of its approach. Additional data will be presented in June at the 24th Congress of the European Hematology Association.
  • Editas presented in vivo proof-of-concept data at the 22nd Annual Meeting of the American Society of Gene & Cell Therapy for an experimental medicine to treat Usher syndrome type 2A (USH2A).
  • In early April, Editas announced a strategic research collaboration and cross-licensing agreement with BlueRock Therapeutics. The companies will combine their respective genome-editing and cell-therapy technologies to create novel engineered cell medicines.

What management had to say

Editas Medicine CEO Cynthia Collins stated in a press release:

2019 is off to a strong start with tangible progress on multiple fronts. We expanded and accelerated our focus in oncology through a newly formed collaboration with BlueRock Therapeutics. We made progress toward dosing patients in the second half with EDIT-101 for LCA10. And, we initiated IND-enabling activities for a potentially best-in-class medicine for sickle cell disease and beta-thalassemia. We look forward to maintaining the momentum through the remainder of the year and beyond.

Looking forward

Editas doesn't offer specific quarterly financial guidance -- nor should it, in these early developmental stages of its long-term growth story. Rather, this report offered patient investors everything they could have hoped for: The company continues to move toward a crucial milestone with EDIT-101 later this year, identified new collaboration opportunities to better leverage its industry-leading gene-editing technology, and formally advanced the development of several other potential medicines.

Steve Symington has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Editas Medicine. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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