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. Most gene-editing stocks have taken a big hit in recent months, but analysts at Fior Markets still expect the global genome-editing market to grow from $4.2 billion in 2020 to $13 billion by 2028. 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 to treat blood disorders and cancer. CRISPR has three 100%-owned gene-editing therapies in clinical trials and is co-developing two other therapies with partners Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc. (VRTX) and ViaCyte Inc. CRSP shares are down more than 50% in the past six months, but analyst Geoff Meacham says updates on a potential regulatory submission for CTX001 by the end of 2022 could drive a valuation re-rating for CRISPR. Bank of America has a “buy” rating and a $150 price target for CRSP stock, which closed at $54.19 on March 4.

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 blood disorder and cancer indications, but is also researching treatment for eye and liver diseases. Analyst Greg Harrison says Beam is transitioning to the clinical research stage with its BEAM-101 treatment and will likely submit investigational new drug applications for BEAM-102 and BEAM-201 in the second half of 2022. Bank of America has a “buy” rating and a $154 price target for BEAM stock, which closed at $64.38 on March 4.

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 June 2021, 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 investors should expect Appellis to submit a new drug application for pegcetacoplan in treating geographic atrophy in the second quarter of 2022, with potential regulatory approval by the end of 2022. Bank of America has a “buy” rating and a $70 price target for APLS, which closed at $43.51 on March 4.

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 early clinical trials for treatment of sickle cell disease. The aim is to correct the underlying mutation, reduce production of sickle cells and restore the production of normal cells using a process to repair DNA called homology directed repair. Meachim says investors can expect initial clinical data on GPH-101 in late 2022 or early 2023. Bank of America has a “buy” rating and a $30 price target for GRPH stock, which closed at $8.17 on March 4.

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 2021. 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 key 2022 catalysts for Caribou include initial phase 1 data for CD-010, an investigational new drug filing for CB-011 and target selection for CB-020. Bank of America has a “buy” rating and a $33 price target for CRBU stock, which closed at $8.93 on March 4.

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 use a proprietary gene-editing technology and are in early-stage human 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. That hold was lifted in January, and analyst Jason Gerberry says the company’s 2022 clinical updates should help reposition Allogene as an allogeneic CAR-T market leader. Bank of America has a “buy” rating and a $37 price target for ALLO stock.

Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc. (VRTX)

Vertex Pharmaceuticals develops small molecule therapeutics for treating cystic fibrosis and anti-inflammatory conditions. In 2021, Vertex acquired the rights to 60% of the profits from sales of CRISPR Therapeutics gene-editing therapy CTX001 for up to $1.1 billion, pending regulatory approval. In August 2021, Vertex announced a new deal worth up to $1.2 billion with Arbor Biotechnologies to use Arbor’s gene-editing technology to develop therapies. In October, Vertex announced yet another deal with Mammoth Biosciences Inc. worth up to $691 million to utilize Mammoth’s proprietary ultra-small CRISPR systems to develop gene-editing therapies. Meacham says Vertex’s most important update of 2022 will be CTX001 regulatory filings for treating sickle cell disease and transfusion-dependent beta thalassemia, a type of inherited blood disease. Bank of America has a “buy” rating and a $275 price target for VRTX stock, which closed at $238.66 on March 4.

Seven 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)

— Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc. (VRTX)

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

Update 03/07/22: This story was published at an earlier date and has been updated with new information.

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