CMN Markets August 2021
The CMN Markets Newsletter will bring you the latest news updates from the stock markets with focus on companies that have clinical-stage programmes involving a gene-editing tool like CRISPR.
- Multiple companies report financial results.
- Fate Therapeutics doses the first patient in a landmark clinical trial.
- Editas Medicine presents a new promising technology platform.
Figure 1: Data on stock performance shown from July 1st to August 1st. Data from Yahoo Finance. Companies: CRISPR Therapeutics (CRSP), Allogene Therapeutics (Allo), Sangamo Therapeutics (SGMO), Editas Medicine (EDIT), Precision Biosciences (DTIL), Cellectis (CLLS), Intellia Therapeutics (NTLA), Fate Therapeutics (FATE), Beam Therapeutics (BEAM), Verve Therapeutics (VERV), Graphite Bio (GRPH).
Influences from the broader economic trends
The stock market has remained somewhat stable throughout the month of July and even showed some impressive growth throughout the interim period of August. However, stocks started to slide amid growing concerns that the rapid spread of the SARS-CoV-2 delta variant would slow down the reopening of the global economy significantly. This doubt coincided with the major geopolitical crisis that presented itself after the rapid fall of Afghanistan at the hands of the Taliban. However, despite the political implications, it does not seem that the situation in Afghanistan will impact stocks, as Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst at Oanda Asia Pacific Pte, told Bloomberg: »The limited presence of global companies in Afghanistan necessarily constrains its wider impact on markets.«
On August 19th news broke that the US economy would likely see an earlier than expected shift in monetary policy. This news comes on the back of a stronger than expected jobs report, with a new low in jobless claims, showing promise for the development of the post-pandemic economy, as cited by Andrew Hunter, senior U.S. economist for Capital Economics: »It looks more likely than not that the wind-down will begin later this year, rather than early next year as we had previously thought.« This news hit the stock market with mixed response, but in the end, the Nasdaq rose on the day. Andrew Slimmon, managing director at Morgan Stanley investment management, spoke on why this might be: »The Fed is […] leading us down the taper exhaustion path, so when they actually do taper, we'll be so exhausted talking about it, it won't cause the volatility in the market.«
Second quarter (Q2) financials
Several companies reported financial results from the period spanning April 1st to June 30th. We outline the highlights here:
Intellia Therapeutics misses the mark
Intellia Therapeutics (NASDAQ:NTLA) reported their Q2 earnings of 2021 on August 5th. The company missed the Zack consensus earnings per share (EPS) by $0.4, a surprise margin of -65.57%. Analysts had estimated a loss of -$0.61, however, the company reported a loss of -$1.01 per share. This is a bigger loss than the company presented for 2021 Q1. The company reported a strong cash position of $551.3 million, which does not include an additional $648.1 million that was raised in July. In the same report, the company reiterated its plans to initiate first-in-human studies for both NTLA-2002 for hereditary angioedema (HAE) and NTLA-5001 for acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) this year.
Precision Biosciences beats expectations
On August 12th, Precision Biosciences (NASDAQ: DTIL) reported its second quarter earnings of 2021. Zack Financial analysts had provided a consensus estimated EPS of -$0.38 per share. However, Precision Biosciences reported an EPS of $0.36 per share. This quarterly report represents a surprise margin of 194.74%, primarily driven by revenue recognised in connection with its R&D collaborations.
Beam Therapeutics disappoints analysts
Beam Therapeutics (NASDAQ:BEAM) reported its 2021 Q2 earnings on August 10th. Its Q2 earnings report revealed a quarterly loss of -$0.95, which is a loss of -$0.37 compared to Zack Financial analysts estimated EPS of -$0.58, a surprise margin of -63.79%. This is a smaller loss than last quarter where BEAM announced an EPS with a surprise margin of -365.27%. BEAM furthermore reiterated its plans to submit its first IND in the second half of 2021 for its BEAM-201 programme, a multiplex base-edited CD7-targeting CAR-T candidate for the treatment of relapsed/refractory T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (T-ALL).
Editas Medicine Surprises analysts
On August 4thEditas Medicine (NASDAQ:EDIT) surprised financial analysts when the company announced its Q2 financial statement. Zack Financial analysts estimated that Editas would incur a loss of -$0.85 per share, but the company reported a loss of only -$0.81 per share. This means a surprise margin of 4.71%. Furthermore, the company announced that it is on track to dose the first sickle cell disease and beta-thalassemia patients with its EDIT-301 candidate by the end of the year. In addition, the company has begun enrolling paediatric patients and adult patients in the high-dose cohort for its EDIT-101 candidate to treat Leber Congenital Amaurosis 10 (LCA10). In the days following this announcement, the stock price of EDIT surged, as seen in Figure 1.
Fate Therapeutics almost hits estimates
Fate Therapeutics (NASDAQ:FATE) reported the company's Q2 earnings of 2021 on August 4th. Fate ended the quarter with an EPS of -$0.58, which is $0.06 lower than the Zack consensus estimates of -$0.52. This EPS comes out to a surprise margin of -14.29%. The company furthermore reported a strong cash position of $845.1 million.
Allogene Therapeutics beats expectations slightly
Allogene Therapeutics (NASDAQ:ALLO) reported its Q2 earnings of 2021 on August 4th. Zack consensus estimates expected an EPS of -$0.55 per share. Allogene Therapeutics announced that its Q2 EPS beat estimates by $0.02 corresponding to an EPS of -0.53, and a surprise margin of 3.77%. The company announced that it is on track to initiate its pivotal ALLO-501A clinical trial by the end of the year, potentially bringing the first allogeneic CAR-T product to the market.
Sangamo Therapeutics reports losses
On August 5th 2021 Sangamo Therapeutics (NASDAQ:SGMO) reported its Q2 earnings. The company presented an EPS of -$0.33 which is a slightly bigger loss than what the Zack consensus estimate expected at -$0.30. This corresponds to a surprise margin of 10%.
Fate Therapeutics with landmark clinical trial
On August 2nd, Fate Therapeutics announced treatment of the first patient in its new first-in-class iPSC derived CAR T-cell therapy, FT819. The candidate has entered into a phase 1 clinical trial and it is the first time CAR T-cells have been created from iPSCs for clinical purposes. Deriving CAR T-cells from iPSCs will allow the company to ensure high production while maintaining quality and consistency. With the Phase 1 study of FT819, Fate Therapeutics aims to evaluate three dosing regimens for patients with advanced B-cell leukaemias and Lymphomas, targeting CD19+ malignancies.
Poseida Therapeutics receive IND approval
On the 30th of August, Poseida Therapeutics (NASDAQ:PSTX) announced that it had obtained FDA approval for its IND application for P-BCMA-ALLO1. This is the company's first fully allogeneic CAR T-cell candidate, which is developed using Poseida's proprietary piggyBac® DNA Modification System and the hybrid Cas-CLOVER™ Site-Specific Gene Editing System. With the IND application approved, Poseida intends to dose the first patients with P-BCMA-ALLO1 later this year. After announcing the FDA clearance the company stock value rose by $1.17, translating to a percentage increase of 12.89%. CRISPR Medicine News recently interviewed Poseida's CEO Dr. Eric Ostertag to hear more about the company's CAR-T cell programmes. You can read that interview here.
Editas Medicine presents new technology platform
On August 20th, Editas Medicine presented the first pre-clinical data from its new technology platform which has been named SLEEK (SeLection by Essential-gene Exon Knock-in). The new platform enables multi-transgene knock-in of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), T cells, and natural killer (NK) cells. The technology uses a proprietary process that selects for cells containing the knock-in cargo, and does this with remarkably high efficiency. Editas has not provided any guidelines for the selection of developmental candidates using the new technology.
What to look out for in September
European Society of Medical Oncology annual conference
From Thursday the 16th until Wednesday the 22nd of September, the annual European Society for Medical Oncology meeting will be held virtually. The conference will feature presentations from prominent companies such as AstraZeneca, Pfizer Oncology and Bristol Myers Squibb among many others, sharing the data on the companies’ oncology programmes, including multiple CAR-T programmes.
Disclaimer: None of the information given above should be considered investment advice. The authors or CRISPR Medicine News cannot be held accountable for any losses associated with investing in the companies discussed.
Poseida Therapeutics, Inc.
First Affiliated Hospital of Guangdong Pharmaceutical University