Today, investors are increasingly putting gene editing stocks in focus. Indeed, the peer group, including Editas Medicine (NASDAQ:EDIT), Intellia Therapeutics (NASDAQ:NTLA) and CRISPR Therapeutics (NASDAQ:CRSP) are all up significantly. Each of these stocks is up between 5% and 10% at the time of writing.
This synchronized move is not out of the ordinary. Indeed, these gene editing stocks tend to trade as a group. One tidbit of good news from one company tends to cause a rising tide that lifts all boats in the sector. Accordingly, long-term investors looking at gene editing stocks as long-term holds may simply choose one of the bunch to approximate the returns of the sector.
Today’s big mover in this group is Editas. And for good reason. Editas recently announced some promising initial data on its SLEEK editing technology. This news has cast a positive light on Editas’ peer group and led investors to consider the long-term potential of these technologies.
Accordingly, let’s dive into what Editas announced and why investors are jumping on gene editing stocks today.
Gene Editing Stocks Higher on Positive Editas Data Release
On Friday, Editas shared some promising data on its new SLEEK (SeLection by Essential-gene Exon Knock-in) gene editing technology. These data were presented via an oral presentation at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory’s Genome Editing: CRISPR Frontiers meeting. This meeting occurred virtually last week.
Editas’ SLEEK platform aims to solve one of the problems gene editing technologies have had to battle. According to the company’s press release, “despite major progress in achieving gene disruption, efficient knock-in of transgenes continues to be a significant challenge for the gene editing field. To solve this challenge, SLEEK was developed enabling high knock-in efficiencies with different transgenes while also ensuring robust, transgene expression. Editas Medicine believes that SLEEK may enable the development of next generation cell therapeutics for cancer and other serious diseases.”
In other words, Editas’ new technology aims to improve knock-in efficiencies. Or, essentially, the ability of the underlying CRISPR technology to “knock in” or insert genes into a DNA sequence. This is done through a very complex snipping process, which the underlying Cas9 technology is built for. However, the precise nature of this process has meant that gaining high levels of efficiency with this process has been difficult.
Initial data suggest that Editas has made some serious progress on this front. The company reported more than 90% knock-in efficiencies in clinically relevant target cells. Additionally, expectations are that this technology could be used to fine tune expression levels of trans-gene cargos. This is what some researchers believe is the next step in the evolution of gene therapies.
On the date of publication, Chris MacDonald did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.