7 Top Gene-Editing Stocks to Buy

Analysts recommend these gene-editing stocks.

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 Grand View Research expect the genome editing market to grow to $19.4 billion by 2028. The first company to develop breakthrough gene editing technology could end up as the investment of a lifetime. Here are seven of the best gene-editing stocks to buy, according to Bank of America.

CRISPR Therapeutics AG (ticker: CRSP)

CRISPR Therapeutics is a biotech company that uses the gene-editing tool CRISPR-Cas9 for hemoglobinopathy — or blood disorders — and oncology — or cancer — applications. CRISPR has three therapies in clinical trials and is co-developing another therapy with Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc. (VRTX) targeting cystic fibrosis and sickle cell disease. CRSP shares are down about 50% this year as gene-editing stocks have lagged behind, but analyst Geoff Meacham says the market is assigning virtually no value to CRISPR’s chimeric antigen receptor T-cell, or CAR-T, therapies, which modify T-cells to attack cancer cells. Meacham says the stock’s risk-reward skew is favorable since CRISPR will be reporting more clinical data by year’s end. Bank of America has a “buy” rating and a $175 price target for CRSP stock, which closed at $80.59 on Nov. 22.

Beam Therapeutics Inc. (BEAM)

Beam Therapeutics uses CRISPR technology to change single bases in the genome with a technique called base editing, which only breaks one strand of the DNA and may have higher cell survival rates. The company focuses on hemoglobinopathy and oncology indications, but is also researching treatment for ocular and liver disease. Analyst Greg Harrison says Beam’s recent investigational new drug application filing for BEAM-101 is an important milestone. He says Beam will continue to progress in its preclinical research, and its approach could demonstrate advantages in safety and efficacy. The company’s tissue-targeting lipid nanoparticle technology for editing the liver could differentiate Beam from gene-editing competitors. Bank of America has a “buy” rating and a $150 price target for BEAM stock, which closed at $81.74 on Nov. 22.

Apellis Pharmaceuticals Inc. (APLS)

Apellis Pharmaceuticals is a biotech company focused on therapies targeting the complement pathway of the immune system, which enhances the immune system’s ability to clear damaged cells. The company’s main product is pegcetacoplan, which is already approved in the U.S. for treating paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria, a rare acquired blood disease, and is in late-stage development for treating geographic atrophy, a cause of vision loss in old age. In July, Apellis announced a new collaboration with Beam Therapeutics to leverage base editing technology to research new precision therapies for the eye, liver and brain. Analyst Tazeen Ahmad says pegcetacoplan is a differentiated asset, and Apellis’ drug pipeline is impressive. Bank of America has a “buy” rating and a $61 price target for APLS stock, which closed at $43.13 on Nov. 22.

Graphite Bio Inc. (GRPH)

Graphite Bio is a gene-editing technology company that leverages both CRISPR and natural DNA repair processes. Meachim says Graphite differentiates itself in the hemoglobinopathies space with its GPH-101 investigational, gene-edited autologous hematopoietic stem cell candidate, which is in a phase 1/2 clinical trial for treatment of sickle cell disease. The aim is to correct the underlying mutation and reduce production of sickle cells and to restore the production of normal cells using a process to repair DNA called homology directed repair, or HDR. Meachim says the combination of HDR and high-fidelity Cas9 creates opportunities for more treatment precision and specificity. Bank of America has a “buy” rating and a $35 price target for GRPH stock, which closed at $9.09 on Nov. 22.

Caribou Biosciences Inc. (CRBU)

Caribou Biosciences is a clinical-stage biotech company developing gene-edited allogeneic, or universal, cell therapies to treat cancer. The company completed its initial public offering in July. Meachim says Caribou’s proprietary chRDNA gene-editing approach could have potential benefits over traditional CRISPR-Cas9 in both efficacy and specificity, allowing for better targeting. The chRDNA approach utilizes novel hybrid DNA-RNA guides for DNA editing. Meachim says it can also potentially be more versatile than other approaches given chRDNA guides can use multiple Cas proteins to target multiple cell types. Bank of America has a “buy” rating and a $33 price target for CRBU stock, which closed at $18.86 on Nov. 22.

Allogene Therapeutics Inc. (ALLO)

Allogene Therapeutics is a biotech company developing allogeneic chimeric antigen receptor T-cell, or CAR-T, therapies to treat cancer. Allogene’s ALLO-501 and ALLO-715 therapies both utilize a proprietary gene-editing technology and are in phase 1 testing. In October, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced a clinical hold on both of Allogene’s clinical-stage allogeneic CAR-T programs due to a single chromosomal abnormality in one trial patient. Analyst Jason Gerberry estimates that there is a 75% chance that the hold will be lifted by mid-December, which would likely be a major bullish stock catalyst. Bank of America has a “buy” rating and a $32 price target for ALLO stock, which closed at $18.81 on Nov. 22.

Poseida Therapeutics Inc. (PSTX)

Poseida Therapeutics is a clinical-stage biotech company developing cellular and gene therapies using proprietary gene-editing platforms. Analyst Alec Stranahan says Poseida is typically considered a cell therapy company, but a new collaboration with Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd. (TAK) helps expand the gene-editing arm of his bullish thesis. Poseida shares have been pressured since the Allogene holds were announced, but Stranahan says investors should buy the dip given Poseida’s unique gene-editing technologies and multiple upcoming data catalysts. Bank of America has a “buy” rating and a $20 price target for PSTX stock, which closed at $7.60 on Nov. 22.

Top gene-editing stocks to buy:

— CRISPR Therapeutics AG (CRSP)

— Beam Therapeutics Inc. (BEAM)

— Apellis Pharmaceuticals Inc. (APLS)

— Graphite Bio Inc. (GRPH)

— Caribou Biosciences Inc. (CRBU)

— Allogene Therapeutics Inc. (ALLO)

— Poseida Therapeutics Inc. (PSTX)

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7 Top Gene-Editing Stocks to Buy originally appeared on usnews.com

Update 11/30/21: This story was published at an earlier date and has been updated with new information.

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