NTLA Stock Getting Ahead in Gene Editing Race

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Year-to-date, NTLA stock has surged more than 170%. Over the past year, shares of NTLA stock have surged more than 600%, with investors increasingly growing bullish on the gene editing space.

As a leader in gene editing technology, Intellia has shown impressive progress in commercializing its underlying product. This has gotten growth gurus, such as Cathie Wood, on board in a big way. And when Cathie’s buying, you bet retail investors are getting excited.

So far, gene editing companies have used CRISPR-based therapies to edit the genetic code in stem cells. Now, Intellia has come up with a technology that holds up COVID-19 vaccines from BioNTech (BNTX) and Moderna (NASDAQ:MRNA) to design a possible cure for rare inherited diseases.

Accordingly, NTLA stock has been one of the hottest performers of late. It’s unsurprising to see growth investors gravitate toward these potential disruptive stocks in a big way. However, valuation concerns remain as these stocks continue to get more and more expensive.

Right now, I remain cautiously bullish on NTLA stock. (See Intellia Therapeutics stock charts on TipRanks)

Future Growth Driving this Stock

Like many high-growth stocks, Intellia has been losing money of late. Indeed, the market is pricing in increased revenue growth projections for this stock, with positive earnings likely a long way out. However, the long-term clip at which Intellia is able to grow remains the core focus of investors looking at gene editing stocks in general. Accordingly, over the long-term, investors are betting that cash flow growth will be impressive, and will more than make up for whatever near-term investment is required.

That said, Intellia’s revenue this past year was actually lower than last year. Investors betting on Intellia’s future growth potential are thus increasingly looking more at clinical trial data than at past results. Accordingly, this is a stock which appears to be completely detached from its past fundamentals, for good reason.

Let’s dive into why investors are so laser-focused on recent clinical trial results.

Stirring Clinical Trials

On June 26, Intellia and its partner Regeneron Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:REGN), gave interim trial results for NTLA-2001. This is a possible new treatment for the ATTR-PN hereditary disease. Patients with this disease suffer from severe nerve and organ damage when transthyretin starts falling apart. 

With time, transthyretin fragments take the form of dangerous plaques. However, that’s not the case for patients who receive the NTLA-2001 treatment. The impressive gene therapy by NTLA involves a pair of RNA messenger surrounded by lipid nanoparticles (LNP). Unlike Editas’ candidate, NTLA-2001 safely reaches the liver through the bloodstream. 

In the not-so-distant-past, safely sending RNA through the bloodstream seemed like a far-off dream. Last year, BioNTech and Moderna showed that LNP technology has finally advanced and is set to be the innovative breakthrough for which everyone was hoping.

As per the recent trial data, a single dose of NTLA-2001 lowered transthyretin concentrations by more than half. These results were the same for the first three patients receiving 0.1 mg/kg of their body weight.   

Again, in the next group, patients received a 0.3 mg dose. This dose lowered the transthyretin concentrations by a whopping 87%.  

Meanwhile, accidental removal of non-targeted genes is one of the major safety concerns for CRISPR-based companies. However, this has not been a problem for Intellia so far. There was not a single case of adverse events in the first six patients receiving NTLA-2001 treatment. 

Analysts Take on NTLA Stock

As per TipRanks’ analysts rating consensus, Intellia is a Strong Buy. Out of 16 ratings, there are 13 Buy recommendations and 3 Hold recommendations.

The average Intellia Therapeutics price target is $174.94, implying 17.3% upside. Analyst price targets range between a low of $130 per share and a high of $252 per share.

Bottom Line

These interesting trial results have resulted in record share price appreciation for NTLA. Indeed, these results are welcome by long-term investors. Those seeking hyper-growth gene editing stocks with an impressive future are increasingly choosing NTLA stock. The data suggests this is the best play in the sector, and the market agrees.

Disclosure: At the time of publication, Chris MacDonald did not have a position in any of the securities mentioned in this article

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