Biotech companies working on CRISPR-Cas9 projects are attracting a lot of investor attention right now after the scientists behind the revolutionary technology won the 2020 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. What are your options if you want to invest in CRISPR stocks?
What is CRISPR?
CRISPR, which stands for "clusters of regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats," is a groundbreaking gene-editing technique with the potential to treat genetic diseases such as sickle-cell anemia and cancer. Many CRISPR-based therapies are in development.
CRISPR inventors win Nobel Prize
The 2020 Nobel Prize in chemistry went to the two female scientists behind the CRISPR discovery. The duo is Jennifer Doudna, a researcher at UC Berkeley, and Emmanuelle Charpentier, a researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology.
Who is Jennifer Doudna?
Doudna co-founded several biotech ventures focused on the CRISPR technique. The biotech ventures include Caribou Biosciences, Scribe Therapeutics, and Mammoth Biosciences. Scribe recently partnered with Biogen to develop therapies for neurological diseases.
Is there a CRISPR patent battle?
Whereas the CRISPR technique promises to offer major breakthroughs in treating debilitating genetic diseases, there is a dispute over the legal rights to the technology. The CRISPR patent battle, which pits the Broad Institute of Cambridge, Mass., against UC Berkeley, has been ongoing since 2016.
The CRISPR technique has spurred multiple biological ventures, including those led by the scientists behind the discovery. Publicly traded biotech companies using CRISPR include CRISPR Therapeutics, whose stock trades under the "CRSP" ticker symbol, and Beam Therapeutics, whose stock trades under "BEAM." Others are Editas Medicine, whose stock trades under "EDIT," and Intellia Therapeutics, whose stock trades under "NTLA."
CRISPR Therapeutics closed Thursday at $95.39. The stock is up 57 percent this year but is still trading 10 percent below its 52-week high. Meanwhile, Beam Therapeutics stock closed Thursday at $28.50. The stock has gained 52 percent in 2020 but is also 10 percent below its 52-week high.
Editas Medicine stock closed Thursday at $30.71, up 4 percent this year but at a 20 percent discount to its 52-week peak. Finally, Intellia Therapeutics stock closed Thursday at $22.94. The stock is up 56 percent in 2020 but 12 percent below its 52-week high.