Have you been looking for stocks that can double your money or better this year? Smart investors know the biotech industry's full of clinical-stage companies that can explode in value overnight in response to positive clinical trial results or Food and Drug Administration approvals.
Editas Medicine (EDIT -0.50%), Fate Therapeutics (FATE -4.25%), and BridgeBio Pharma (BBIO -1.46%) will make announcements in 2021 that could double their stock prices or more this year. Here's what the new year has in store for each of them.
1. Editas Medicine
This company's running a clinical trial with EDIT-101, a CRISPR-based gene therapy intended to treat an inherited cause of vision loss called Leber congenital amaurosis (LCA10). Editas Medicine's former collaboration partner, Allergan, was acquired last year by AbbVie. The big pharma returned all rights to EDIT-101 last summer.
Editas Medicine recently finished dosing its first group of patients with low-dosage injections of EDIT-101 directly into their retinas. If it works as intended, we'll see results this year that show EDIT-101 restores the production of a protein these patients lack, and, in turn, their vision.
There's a chance the first dosage attempted wasn't strong enough to do the job, which would explain why AbbVie wasn't interested. Signs that Editas Medicine is actually on the right track would give investors a sorely needed boost of confidence, potentially pushing the stock up into the clouds.
2. Fate Therapeutics
This clinical-stage biotech raised about $200 million during its stock market debut last June to develop cancer treatments that employ proprietary lines of natural killer (NK) cells. The first candidate from Fate Therapeutics to enter clinical trials, FT500 is basically an infusion of NK cells derived from a proprietary line of stem cells.
While the FDA has already approved a few highly effective cellular cancer treatments, a new batch must be created for each patient from their own stem cells. This is a long and complicated process that oncologists and their patients would rather avoid. Fate's candidates are all intended for simpler mass production and off-the-shelf administration.
Initial data from clinical trials with FT500 suggest it prevented disease progression for 11 out of 15 patients, which bodes well for a slate of related treatment candidates Fate Therapeutics began testing in 2020. In December, results showed encouraging anti-tumor responses from three patients treated with FT516, an experimental treatment made of NK cells engineered with extra-aggressive CD16 receptors.
Also in December, a lymphoma patient who had failed seven previous lines of treatment responded to a single dose of FT596 as a monotherapy. This patient was in the first group of an ascending dose study, and there haven't been any dose-limiting toxicities so far.
3. BridgeBio Pharma
An estimated 27 million Americans live with a genetic disease. At least 95% of those diseases don't have an approved therapy option. BridgeBio Pharma's a biotech start-up foundry that manages more than a dozen subsidiaries, each of which focuses on the development of a potential new treatment for a disease with a clear genetic cause.
In December, the FDA accepted the second new drug application from a BridgeBio subsidiary, which means the company could launch its first and second products in 2021. In November, a BridgeBio company began dosing cancer patients who have solid tumors driven by specific mutations with BBP-398. In October, another affiliate began a trial with an experimental collagen replacement therapy called BBP-589 to see if it can help patients with a rare genetic skin disorder.
Since its initial public offering (IPO) in 2019, BridgeBio Pharma has already started 12 clinical trials with eight different experimental drugs. Not every shot will reach the goal, but this biotech will give investors a lot to look forward to this year.
Know the risks
While all three of these biotech stocks have a chance to fly higher in 2021, investors unwilling to risk significant losses might want to think twice before buying them.
More compelling data from larger doses of FT596 and FT516 could drive Fate Therapeutics stock much higher in 2021, but it's important to realize this is a $7.9 billion company that doesn't have any products to sell yet. We could see signs that Editas Medicine can produce a commercial-stage drug, but it will be at least a couple of years before the company's ready to send its first new drug application to the FDA.
With two drug applications already under review, BridgeBio Pharma is the safest bet on this list by a mile. That said, we can't be certain the company will earn FDA approvals or report further clinical trial success this year.