Editas Medicine (NASDAQ:EDIT) 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.