To many investors, gene editing sounds like the plot of a science fiction movie. The concept of being able to edit our DNA to cure genetic diseases is quite unbelievable, and the upside of gene editing to treat rare diseases is impressive. However, many gene editing stocks are making waves, looking to advance toward eradicating cancer and other serious illnesses.
But ever since 2012, gene editing has been a reality, at least in terms of having the technology needed to edit genes. Don’t get me wrong, early investors in gene editing have had an opportunity to earn big payouts, but it’s been an exercise in patience. Many companies in this sector are still in the clinical trial stage, which means it will be years before they have commercially-available treatments.
Additionally, several gene editing stocks got caught up in the meme stock movement. Investors that bought at the wrong time may be licking their wounds after some steep losses. But even in a risk-off market, some of these stocks are beginning to look attractive. Here are three gene editing stocks that I think may be worth a closer look.
CRSPR Therapeutics (CRSP)
For those new to the field of gene editing, CRSPR Therapeutics (NASDAQ:CRSP) is a pioneer of the CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing platform. Many companies use this platform to make precise, directed changes to genomic DNA.
It’s impossible to understate the potential opportunity for CRSPR Therapeutics. The CRSPR/Cas9 platform will be at the forefront of gene editing treatments. For example, CRSPR is partnering with Vertex Pharmaceuticals(NASDAQ;VRTX) to bring its CTX110 candidate to market. Known as exa-cel, this is a one-time treatment for sickle cell disease and beta-thalassemia.
This could be a multi-billion opportunity, with an estimated addressable market of 32,000 patients in the U.S. and Europe. But this also presents investors with one of the obstacles that many companies in this space face. Companies like Vertex can provide CRSPR with resources to push their projects forward. But, in this case, Vertex stands to make 60% of the profits from future sales.
With that in mind, you could easily consider VRTX stock as a fourth pick for this list. But for now, I think keeping it simple by investing in CRSP stock is a move that makes sense for risk-tolerant investors looking for exposure to this disruptive technology.
Intellia Therapeutics (NTLA)
Intellia Therapeutics (NASDAQ:NTLA) is another company that illustrates the risks and rewards of investing in gene editing stocks. Intellia has a robust pipeline, and its lead candidate, NTLA-2001, delivered impressive results in a phase one trial in 2022.
That said, the company is years away from the potential revenue that comes from one of these treatments being commercially available. In the meantime, investors must be concerned about events like the company’s public stock offering in December 2022. The stock dropped over 20% and has still not recovered.
However, as was noted at that time, with over $800 million of cash on hand before the stock offering, this may simply be a case of the company ensuring it had sufficient capital to get its products through the clinical trial stages at a time when the cost of money will not be cheap. If that insight is correct, this may be an attractive time for risk-tolerant investors to buy the dip in NTLA stock.
Whenever I recommend AbbVie (NYSE:ABBV), I kick myself (symbolically) for not owning it. And that’s the case again, as I make AbbVie the last pick on this list of gene editing stocks.
One of the enticing goals of gene editing is the potential to find possible treatments for cancer. Chimeric antigen receptor T cell therapy (CAR-T) is an area showing promise. CAR-T cell therapy creates engineered molecules called chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) that identify and destroy antigens found in lymphoma cells.
Like many companies in this space, AbbVie isn’t going it alone. In this case, the company is partnering with a small-cap company Caribou Biosciences (NASDAQ:CRBU). The goal is to improve CAR-T cell therapies with an assist from CRISPR gene editing technology.
Unlike many stocks in this sector, AbbVie is a well-established large-cap stock. Gene editing isn’t the first thing you think of when it comes to AbbVie. But that’s why I wanted to include it on this list. The market is likely to continue unpredictable changes for most of 2023, and ABBV stock has many qualities that investors should look for now – mainly its rock-solid dividend.
On the date of publication, Chris Markoch 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.