For many investors, gene editing sounds like the plot of a sci-fi movie. The concept of being able to edit our DNA to cure genetic diseases is quite incredible, and the benefits of gene editing to treat rare diseases are impressive. However, many gene-editing stocks are making waves, seeking to make progress towards eradicating cancer and other serious diseases.
But since 2012, gene editing is a reality, at least in terms of the technology needed to edit genes. Don’t get me wrong, early investors in gene editing had the opportunity to make big gains, but it was an exercise in patience. Many companies in this industry are still in the clinical trial stage, which means it will be years before they have commercially available treatments.
Additionally, several gene-editing stocks have been caught up in the meme stock movement. Investors who bought at the wrong time can lick their wounds after heavy losses. But even in a risky market, some of these stocks are starting to look attractive. Here are three gene-editing stocks that I think are worth taking a closer look at.
Therapeutic CRSPR (CRSP)
For those new to the field of gene editing, CRSPR therapy (NASDAQ:CRSP) is a pioneer of the CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing platform. Many companies use this platform to make precise and directed changes to genomic DNA.
It is impossible to underestimate the potential opportunity for CRSPR Therapeutics. The CRSPR/Cas9 platform will be at the forefront of gene editing treatments. For example, CRSPR is in partnership with Vertex Pharmaceuticals(NASDAQ;VRTX) to commercialize its candidate CTX110. Known as exa-cel, it is a one-time treatment for sickle cell disease and beta-thalassemia.
This could represent a multi-billion dollar opportunity, with an estimated addressable market of 32,000 patients in the US and Europe. But it also presents investors with one of the hurdles that many companies in this space face. Companies like Vertex can provide CRSPR with resources to advance their projects. But, in this case, Vertex should make 60% of the profits from future sales.
With that in mind, you can easily consider stock VRTX a fourth pick for this list. But for now, I think keeping it simple by investing in CRSP stocks is a logical move for risk-tolerant investors looking for exposure to this disruptive technology.
Intellia Therapeutics (NTLA)
Therapeutic Intellia (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 from commercializing one of these treatments. In the meantime, investors should worry about events such as the public offering of shares in December 2022. The stock fell more than 20% and still hasn’t recovered.
However, as noted at the time, with over $800 million in cash before the stock offering, the company may just be making sure it had enough capital to make moving its products through the clinical trial stages at a time when the cost of money will not be cheap. If this idea is correct, it may be an attractive time for risk-tolerant investors to buy falling NTLA stocks.
Every time I recommend AbbVie (NYSE:ABBV), I kick myself (symbolically) for not owning it. And it still is, because I’m making AbbVie the last pick on this list of gene-editing stocks.
One of the attractive goals of gene editing is the possibility of finding possible treatments for cancer. Chimeric antigen receptor T-cell (CAR-T) therapy is a promising area. CAR-T cell therapy creates modified molecules called chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) that identify and destroy antigens in lymphoma cells.
Like many companies in this space, AbbVie does not go 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 the help of 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 in this list. The market is likely to continue unpredictable shifts for most of 2023, and ABBV stock has many qualities investors should be looking for now, primarily its rock-solid dividend.
As of the date of publication, Chris Markoch had (neither directly nor indirectly) any position in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author, subject to InvestorPlace.com publishing guidelines.