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Why CRISPR Therapeutics Stock Just Popped Another 5%

By Rich Smith – Jun 23, 2020 at 4:08PM

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Two bullish analyst recommendations in less than 24 hours boost the stock price more than 9%.

What happened

CRISPR Therapeutics (CRSP -3.44%) stock is hot this week, after the biotech presented four research posters at the American Association for Cancer Research's Virtual Meeting II this week, offering preclinical data on its gene-editing cancer research and sparking a flurry of supportive notes from Wall Street.

CRISPR stock is up a solid 4.5% as of 2:55 p.m. EDT today and, added to yesterday's gains, has risen more than 9% over the past two days.

Arrow angles up on a green stock chart

Image source: Getty Images.

So what

CRISPR's CAR T-cell technology modifies a patient's immune system T cells and tailors them to fight specific forms of cancer. In this week's posters, the company is said to be reporting data showing that its CTX130 treatment is both specific and potent in fighting both hematologic and solid tumors.

Specific news on the findings is hard to come by, but whatever CRISPR is saying, analysts seem to like it -- a lot. In less than just the last 24 hours, no fewer than three separate Wall Street firms have raised or reiterated their price targets on CRISPR stock. TheFly.com is reporting that Oppenheimer & Co. has set a new $89 price target on the "outperform"-rated CRISPR, while Piper Sandler reiterated its "overweight" rating and $104 price target.

StreetInsider.com adds that Stifel Nicolaus, too, is optimistic, and has raised its price target to $61.

Now what

That last rating isn't quite as bullish as the first two. After their two-day run-up, CRISPR shares already sell for more than $75, after all -- and accordingly, Stifel only gives the stock a "hold" rating. Still, investors seem to think that two out of three isn't bad, and are focusing on the more positive valuation estimates from Oppenheimer and Piper Sandler today.

Speaking of valuation, investors looking at CRISPR for the first time in light of these analyst endorsements may be encouraged to see that this start-up biotech already seems to be profitable and free-cash-flow positive -- but don't be fooled. CRISPR's flush with cash currently because it just received a big milestone payment from partner Vertex Pharmaceuticals. Analysts expect the company will end this year with a loss, however, and will continue losing money for at least the next three years before becoming profitable again.

Investing in CRISPR still requires keeping an eye on the big picture, and monitoring the company's steady progress toward long-term, sustained sales, revenue, and profits -- all of which are years in the future. In the near term, the company's numbers are bound to resume looking pretty ugly, and sooner rather than later.

Rich Smith has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends CRISPR Therapeutics. The Motley Fool recommends Vertex Pharmaceuticals. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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Stocks Mentioned

CRISPR Therapeutics Stock Quote
CRISPR Therapeutics
CRSP
$63.10 (-3.44%) $-2.25
Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorporated Stock Quote
Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorporated
VRTX
$297.43 (2.73%) $7.89

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