CRISPR Therapeutics (CRSP) is one of my favorite biotech companies as the big leader among gene-editing pioneers.

But I had to let the stock go -- right before shares launched into the December ASH meeting (American Society of Hematology) -- because analysts were so bearish on the outlook for when the R&D pipeline would produce any revenues, much less profits.

Of course, talking about revenues and profits for world-changing, early-stage medical science is almost always a non sequitur.

Still in late summer, I let go of my CRSP shares for a 71% gain. But as I describe in this September video and article, it was not the first, nor the last, of great trading gains in the greatest of CRISPR companies...

CRISPR Stocks: Buy or Trade?

In fact, here's the actual trading record from my Healthcare Innovators portfolio of my previous 3 CRSP trades...

So why did CRSP launch from $110 to $210 in December and January?

It was mostly about investors recognizing that the company's early data in treating debilitating illnesses like Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) could indeed become world-changing for millions afflicted with the genetic impairment to their red blood cells.

SCD comprises a group of disorders that cause red blood cells to become misshapen and break down. Red blood cells contort into a sickle shape, and die early, leaving a shortage of healthy red blood cells (sickle cell anemia), and can block blood flow causing pain (sickle cell crisis). Infections, pain, and fatigue are symptoms of sickle cell disease. Current treatments include frequent medications, blood transfusions and, in extreme cases, a bone-marrow transplant -- but no cures.

As Antonio Regalado wrote in the MIT Technology Review wrote last week, "The burden of sickle-cell, an inherited disease that shortens lives by decades (or, in poor regions, kills during childhood), falls most heavily on Black people in equatorial Africa, Brazil, and the US. HIV has also become a lingering scourge: about two-thirds of people living with the virus, or dying from it, are in Africa."

I explained some of this potential in this vlog on December 10...

CRISPR Gene Editing: Owning the Future of Medicine

A secondary "igniter" of all CRISPR stocks launching higher in Dec-Jan (besides my video commentaries linked above) was the investment activity of Cathie Wood and her revolutionary ETF firm ARK Invest.

I produced a video and article about her one-woman investor revolution in early January with her monster ETFs ARK Innovation (ARKK) and ARK Genomics (ARKG)...

How Cathie Put the Wood to Wall Street: TSLA, SQ, ROKU, CRSP, BIDU

There will be a time to buy CRSP again. But as with all emerging Biotechs, you sometimes have to wait for the next clinical data catalyst -- or an M&A one.

I'm betting the latter is the sooner driver of the next move from a $10 billion market cap to a $20 billion one.

Meanwhile, I own the smaller pair of Editas Medicine (EDIT) and Intellia Therapeutics (NTLA) near $5 billion.

Stay CRSPy!


Kevin Cook is a Senior Stock Strategist for Zacks Investment Research where he runs the Healthcare Innovators portfolio.

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