Why Editas Medicine Shares Dropped 28.9% This Week

What happened

Shares of Medications issued (EDIT 9.71%, a genome-editing biotech company that uses CRISPR/Cas9 and CRISPR/Cas12a genome-editing systems to develop therapies, saw its shares plunge 28.9% this week, according to data from S&P Global Market Intelligence. The stock closed at $13.66 last Friday but fell to $9.71 on Thursday, its 52-week low. The stock’s 52-week high is $73.03. The stock has fallen more than 59% this year.

Image source: Getty Images.

And then

The stock has swept up in what has been a horrendous year for tech thus far, with the tech-heavy NASDAQ Composite Index decreased by 25% so far this year. Shares of Editas have fallen steadily this year, but it’s not alone among the gene-editing companies. Intellia Therapeutics has fallen by more than 63% so far this year, while CRISPR Therapies has seen its shares fall by more than 38%.

None of those gene-editing companies are profitable, but Editas’s financial situation doesn’t seem to be improving much. In its first quarter earnings report earlier this month, the company showed signs of tightening its belt, but still losing money. Editas said it has $566.4 million in cash as of March 31, compared to $619.9 in the previous quarter. It said this was enough money to fund operating expenses through early 2024. With no products on the market, that means the company will likely have to sell more shares to raise money soon — diluting the stock for current investors.

The biotech company lost $50.5 million, or $0.74 in earnings per share (EPS), an improvement from its $56.7 million loss and $0.86 loss in earnings per share in the first. quarter of 2021. More worrisome for investors is the lack of progress from the company’s lead therapy, EDIT-101, a treatment for Leber 10 congenital amaurosis, a genetic eye condition that causes retinal degeneration. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) accepted Editas’ Investigational New Drug (IND) filing for EDIT-101 in 2018, but nearly four years later, the therapy is still in early trials.

In addition, the company has achieved significant revenue in the C-suite, with Gillmore O’Neill set to take over as CEO in June and become the company’s fourth CEO since 2014.

What now

CRISPR technology is still considered the next breakthrough in medicine. That doesn’t mean Editas is the gene-editing company investors should back. Either way, it’s important to take a long-term view of any gene editing company, as the science is still relatively new. Investors want to see more progress on the science side for Editas, as it announced Thursday after the market closed. In the release, the company said the FDA had granted orphan drug status to Editas’ therapy EDIT-301, a treatment for beta thalassemia, a genetic blood disorder. Editas said it now plans to dose the first patient in a phase 1/2 clinical trial for EDIT-101 sometime this year.

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