The stock market got off to a mixed start on Monday, but that wasn't evident to investors in the Nasdaq Composite (^IXIC -0.18%). As it often has before, the Nasdaq pushed higher even as other major market benchmarks fell, with gains of about two-thirds of a percent as of 11:30 a.m. EDT.
Plenty of the Nasdaq's biggest stocks were among the gainers to start the new week. But two of the best performers on the exchange came from stocks that many investors had never heard of. Below, we'll go through what helped lift shares of Intellia Therapeutics (NTLA -0.55%) and Verve Therapeutics (VERV -2.27%) on Monday morning.
Intellia gets a genetic win
Shares of Intellia Therapeutics were up more than 40% Monday morning. The gene-editing specialist announced favorable results from a clinical trial that could be the beginning of a huge revolution in treating disease.
Intellia and partner Regeneron Pharmaceuticals (REGN -1.45%) released interim data from a phase 1 study of gene-editing treatment NTLA-2001. The treatment, which is being studied for patients with the genetic disease transthyretin amyloidosis, targets cells within the body to treat genetic diseases. A single dose of NTLA-2001 showed substantial reductions in production of the misfolded proteins that often lead to complications and death in patients with the disease.
Intellia CEO John Leonard explained the breakthrough, noting that the success with NTLA-2001 "also unlocks the door to treating a wide array of other genetic diseases with our modular platform." The company intends to move forward aggressively to build up its pipeline to cover other potential diseases.
With today's gains, Intellia's stock has risen sevenfold in less than a year. Yet if its gene-editing process is applicable to a wider range of genetic disorders, then today's data could be just the beginning of a promising future for Intellia.
Riding the coattails after a big IPO
Intellia's news had positive impacts across the entire group of companies seeking to use gene-editing technology for disease treatment. One of the winners was Verve Therapeutics, whose stock climbed nearly 25% on Monday morning.
Verve just came public a couple of weeks ago, after several years as a privately held company. The company had initially expected to sell stock in a range between $16 and $18 per share, but increased demand led it to boost the IPO price to $19 million. Selling just over 14 million shares raised about $266 million in gross proceeds, which the company hopes to use for treatment development. The stock subsequently soared almost 70% on its first day of trading, and today's gains mean those who got shares in the IPO have quickly doubled their money.
Verve's focus is on heart disease treatment, with a similar single-course gene-editing medicine specialty to that which Intellia and Regeneron used so effectively. Verve hopes to target liver cells with gene-editing medicines both for those already suffering from cardiovascular conditions and for those at risk of contracting heart disease in the future.
With Intellia's success, investors can expect plenty of attention not just for the big names in the gene-editing space but also for up-and-coming players like Verve. With a wide-open field, there's plenty of room for success across the industry, and that has investors quite excited.