Crispr Therapeutics (NASDAQ:CRSP) has a compelling story with its gene editing therapy. However, like many genetics companies, Crispr has nothing to show for its diligent efforts. As a result, CRISPR stock has found it hard to move higher than $70 per share. That recently changed and now investors are wondering if the stock is on the verge of a breakthrough they’ve been waiting for.
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I think it may be. But I also urge investors to understand what they are investing in. Crispr is working towards a future that could deliver incredible promise. But it’s a future that is likely to still be years, and several millions of dollars away.
If It Was Simple, It Would Be Done Already
If the novel coronavirus has taught us anything it’s that scientific discovery takes time. After all, if it was simple, we’d have had a vaccine already. But it isn’t, and we don’t. And the truth is we don’t want it to be.
I ask you to put aside any opinions or beliefs you have about vaccines. Assume you’re willing to take the vaccine. You will want to make sure that the vaccine is effective and safe.
Now think about gene-editing therapy. To put it simply, gene-editing therapy is altering our genetic code. And there are any number of scientific and ethical questions that go along with that.
Here’s my rather simplistic explanation of Crispr’s gene-editing therapy. Crispr identifies anomalies in a genetic sequence (i.e. our DNA). They then use a protein called Cas9 that serves as a tool (the company defines it as molecular scissors) to cut out the problematic part of the gene sequence and replace it.
But this isn’t as easy as splicing together a reel of video tape. And the associated risks and expenses are good reason that the company has not yet delivered a product to market.
But if they can get it right, an investment in CRISPR stock is an investment in a future that we all want. It’s a future where we can reduce the pain and suffering caused by quirks in our own DNA. And that opens up many fascinating possibilities. But many of those possibilities are only fiction at this point.
But that could be changing.
Collaboration Is Starting to Pay Off
One of the critiques of Crispr Therapeutics is that the company is not yet profitable. But the company has a long-term collaboration with Vertex Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:VRTX). This serves two purposes. On a practical level, Vertex is helping to ensure that Crispr is well capitalized. In fact, the company recently was able to report a $900 million cash balance because of a milestone payment from Vertex.
But the companies are also collaborating to research and develop new treatments. This has moved Crispr’s two most promising candidates deep into the clinical trial phase. In fact, Vertex recently announced the companies have successfully engrafted new genetic instructions in patients.
You Can’t Wait to Commit to CRISPR Stock
I’m of the generation when genetics first became a high school class. Over 30 years later, the progress hasn’t matched the promise. Or maybe it has. And that’s why I think it’s extremely important that investors understand that investing in Crispr is an investment in the future. A future based in reliable, ethical science. Not reckless science fiction.
And that promise is an excellent reason to invest in CRISPR stock. But this isn’t a stock you can simply keep on a watch list. Once the company has a success, the stock will pop. And if you aren’t invested at that time, you’ll be chasing a skyrocketing entity.
And make no mistake. That success is coming. It’s just not simple, or cheap. We should all want Crispr Therapeutics to deliver their solutions in a manner that is as precise, and as ethical as possible. And if takes a little longer, so be it. It should be worth your wait.
Chris Markoch is a freelance financial copywriter who has been covering the market for over five years. He has been writing for InvestorPlace since 2019. As of this writing, Chris Markoch did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.
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