Is Crispr Therapeutics AG (CRSP) worth investing in?

One of my key investment philosophy is to be ahead of others. As I do not have ready access to real-time news or even monitor them, it is impossible for me to trade based on news. I do not have the advantage nor the time to dabble into day trade. Rather, I try to look ahead and identify the next big Facebook, Amazon, Apple or Tesla. To do that, I look at current and future trends. NFT for example, is one area which piqued my interest. I have also been following up with CRISPR gene editing recently. In this post, I’ll share my thoughts about CRISPR, the company which is trying to go big in this area – Crispr Therapeutics AG (CRSP) and whether it is worth investing in.

What is CRISPR and why is CRISPR important?

CRISPR stands for Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats. You might have heard of the potential in genetic engineering in human embryo, amongst the earliest stages of life. CRISPR now brings that potential to children and grown-ups. Without going too technical, CRISPR finds a specific DNA within a cell and enables that alteration of that part of the DNA. Hence, if you think about disease that can be pin-pointed to specific genes – there might be the potential for CRISPR to correct that part of the DNA. This may include sickle cell diseases, Leber congenital amaurosis or even HIV and cancer. The trial results on CRISPR looks promising and certainly, there is great potential in this space.

Considerations before investing in CRISPR

Very similar to pharmaceutical companies, we have the following considerations for investing purposes:

  1. Safety – If the technique has been proven to be safe for trials
  2. Regulatory Approval – If the trial results can convince regulatory authorities such as FDA to approve the usage en-mass
  3. Timing – How long it takes for (1) and (2) to complete
  4. Competition – How tight is the competition in this space. Is the barrier to entry to CRISPR low?
  5. Partner – Any notable partners that can provide that extra edge in competition?

Enter Crispr Therapeutics AG (CRSP)

There are several notable companies that have already embarked on CRISPR. This includes:

  1. Crispr Therapeutics AG (CRSP)
  2. Intellia Therapeutics Inc (NTLA)
  3. Editas Medicine (EDIT)

All the 3 companies above are currently listed on NASDAQ. Crispr Therapeutics (CRSP) is currently the largest by market capitalisation, at about $9.6B. As you can see in the chart below, it’s share price has gone up more than 7x since 2017. Crispr Therapeutics has also partnered with Vertex Pharmaceuticals to develop several gene therapies that has trials underway. The trials include CTX001 (beta-thalassemia and sickle cell disease) and CTX110 (non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma).

CRSP – Share price up more than 7x since 2017

Is Crispr Therapeutics AG (CRSP) worth investing in?

While the future looks promising for Crispr Therapeutics (and indeed, for patients whom Crispr is targeting for treatment), Crispr gene editing technique is still relatively new. There is the lingering concern on long term side effect as well as if trial results can be convincing. In fact, from an investing perspective, this is quite similar to pharma companies. From a competition perspective, it doesn’t look like a crowded space yet, even outside of US. Crispr Therapeutics currently has the edge and a higher count of on-going clinical trials. Any breakthrough from it’s clinical trial should send the share price up even higher.

Considering the steep rise in share price, I’ll sit back a little and wait for the next dip or new developments from clinical trials. I might be tempted to invest a little if the price dips further below $105 and do some dollar averaging. In the meantime, I’ll be cheering their trials on as it really promises much for medical treatment of the future.

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