7 Best Gene-Editing Stocks to Invest in Right Now | Investing

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Gene therapy and gene editing are on the cutting edge of modern biotechnology. Gene therapies are used to correct genetic abnormalities by introducing genetic material at a cellular level and can often take the form of adding a functioning copy of a gene. Gene editing takes the science to the next level, seeking to directly alter the genome itself as a therapeutic approach. Analysts at Precedence Research expect the gene-editing market to grow 15.7% annually and reach $29.9 billion by 2032, creating some tremendous long-term opportunities for investors.

Here are seven of the best gene-editing stocks to buy, according to Bank of America:

Stock Implied upside over March 26 close
Eli Lilly and Co. (ticker: LLY) 29%
Sanofi (SNY) 30.7%
Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc. (VRTX) 31.4%
CRISPR Therapeutics AG (CRSP) 40.9%
Intellia Therapeutics Inc. (NTLA) 204.6%
Caribou Biosciences Inc. (CRBU) 236%
Bluebird bio Inc. (BLUE) 316.7%

Eli Lilly produces brand-name prescription drugs to treat a wide range of medical conditions, including diabetes, cancer and neurological disorders. It has also been investing in gene-therapy partnerships, including an October 2023 deal to acquire opt-in rights from Beam Therapeutics Inc. (BEAM) to programs for base-editing therapeutics currently being developed by Verve Therapeutics Inc. (VERV) for treating cardiovascular disease. Lilly is far from a pure-play, gene-editing stock, but analyst Geoff Meacham says the company’s five-year earnings and revenue growth outlook makes it a top-tier health care investment. Bank of America has a “buy” rating and $1,000 price target for LLY stock, which closed at $774.90 on March 26.

Sanofi is a French pharmaceutical company that specializes in atopic allergic disorders, oncology and rare diseases. Its leading drugs include Lantus for treating diabetes and Dupixent for treating atopic dermatitis, asthma and chronic rhinosinusitis with nasal polyps. In July 2023, Sanofi expanded an existing partnership with Scribe Therapeutics to use its CRISPR-based gene-editing technology to develop both in-vivo and ex-vivo cancer cell therapies. Analyst Graham Parry says Sanofi is an undervalued turnaround story with an underappreciated growth outlook and an improving development pipeline. Bank of America has a “buy” rating and $65 price target for SNY stock, which closed at $49.75 on March 26.

Vertex Pharmaceuticals is a biopharmaceutical company that specializes in developing therapies to treat cystic fibrosis, or CF. Vertex also owns the rights to 60% of the profits from sales of CRISPR Therapeutics AG (CRSP) gene-editing therapy exa-cel, which was approved by the Food and Drug Administration for treating sickle cell disease (SCD) in December 2023 and for treating transfusion-dependent beta thalassemia (TDT) just six weeks later. Meacham estimates exa-cel, marketed as Casgevy, will contribute about $6 per share in value, and he is also bullish on Vertex’s CF business. Bank of America has a “buy” rating and $550 price target for VRTX stock, which closed at $418.46 on March 26.

CRISPR Therapeutics AG (CRSP)

CRISPR Therapeutics is a biotech company that uses gene-editing tool CRISPR-Cas9 for blood disorder and cancer applications. Crisper shares are up about 54% in the past six months, driven largely by FDA approvals of exa-cel (Casgevy) for treating TDT and SCD. While CRISPR will split exa-cel profits with Vertex, Meacham says CRISPR is also making impressive progress developing its next generation of allogeneic CAR T candidates, CTX112 and CTX131. He says CRISPR is one of his top mid-cap picks. Bank of America has a “buy” rating and $100 price target for CRSP stock, which closed at $70.97 on March 26.

Intellia Therapeutics Inc. (NTLA)

Intellia Therapeutics is a clinical-stage biotech company developing CRISPR-Cas9 gene-editing products designed for both in-vivo and ex-vivo applications. Its lead clinical program is NTLA-2001 for treating transthyretin (ATTR) amyloidosis, which currently has no cure. The company’s NTLA-2002 treatment for hereditary angioedema has also shown promising results in early clinical trials. Analyst Greg Harrison says the early stage success of the company’s therapies highlight the potential for broad application of its gene editing-based platform and a long growth runway for the stock. Bank of America has a “buy” rating and $80 price target for NTLA stock, which closed at $26.26 on March 26.

Caribou Biosciences Inc. (CRBU)

Caribou Biosciences is a clinical-stage biotech company developing gene-edited allogeneic, or universal, cell therapies to treat cancer. The stock took a big hit in March when Caribou announced it is pausing development of allogeneic cell therapy CB-020. However, Caribou still has three lead programs in place: CB-010, CB-011 and CB-012. Meacham says the post-earnings sell-off in Caribou shares was overdone given CB-020 represented only about $3 per share in value and the discontinuation of the program gives Caribou another $372 million to develop its lead programs. Bank of America has a “buy” rating and $17 price target for CRBU stock, which closed at $5.06 on March 26.

Bluebird bio is a biotech company developing gene and cell therapies to treat genetic diseases. The company already has three FDA-approved gene-editing therapies. Its Zynteglo therapy treats TDT and its Skysona therapy treats cerebral adrenoleukodystrophy (CALD). Bluebird also gained FDA approval in December 2023 for gene-editing therapy lovotibeglogene autotemcel (lovo-cel) for treating SCD in patients ages 12 and older with histories of vaso-occlusive events. Analyst Jason Gerberry says the launch of lovo-cel, marketed as Lyfgenia, will be a key catalyst for bluebird in 2024. Bank of America has a “buy” rating and $5 price target for BLUE stock, which closed at $1.20 on March 26.

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