What happened

Biotech gene-editing specialist Intellia Therapeutics (NASDAQ:NTLA) is set to have a big year, at least if we go by the most recent business update management gave us. In a press release Thursday morning, Intellia Therapeutics outlined its strategic priorities for the new year, and these anticipated events have investors excited. This explains why shares of the biotech are rising sharply on Thursday, up by 14.7% as of 12:26 p.m. EST.

So what

In 2021, Intellia Therapeutics expects to submit a couple of Investigational New Drug Application (IND) to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), according to the press release. The company will submit an IND (or IND-equivalent) for NTLA-5001 for the treatment of acute myeloid leukemia in mid-2021. The biotech is also planning to submit an IND for NTLA-2002, a potential treatment for hereditary angioedema, in the second half of the year. These INDs, if approved, would allow the company to advance clinical trials for both of these candidates.

DNA strand.

Image source: Getty Images.

Further, Intellia Therapeutics plans on making headway with NTLA-2001, one of its most advanced pipeline candidates, which is being investigated as a potential treatment for transthyretin amyloidosis (ATTR). The company is enrolling patients for a phase 1 clinical trial for NTLA-2001 and also expects to add at least one new program to its pipeline this year. Intellia noted that it ended 2020 with $597 million in cash -- not bad for a clinical-stage biotech.

Now what

Intellia Therapeutics conducted a public offering of common stock in early December, and given its current cash position, the company is unlikely to resort to dilutive forms of financing anytime soon, which is good news for investors. However, its programs are still by and large in their infant stages, and a lot can go wrong for the biotech. Regulatory setbacks and clinical trial failures could send shares on a downward spiral. Although this biotech stock seems promising, only investors comfortable with high levels of risk should consider initiating a position.

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