CRISPR Therapeutics AG (CRSP - Free Report) reported first-quarter 2021 loss per share of $1.51, wider than the Zacks Consensus Estimate of a loss of $1.45. The company had reported a loss of $1.15 per share in the year-ago quarter.

The company's total revenues, which comprise grants and collaboration revenues, came in at $0.5 million in the first quarter, compared with $0.2 million reported in the year-ago quarter. The top line however substantially missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $5 million.

We note that CRISPR Therapeutics is solely dependent on Vertex Pharmaceuticals (VRTX - Free Report) for collaboration revenues.

Shares of CRISPR Therapeutics were down 2.3% in after-hours trading on Tuesday following announcement of the news. In fact, the stock has declined 13.1% so far this year against the industry’s increase of 0.4%.

price chart for CRSP

Quarter in Detail

In the reported quarter, research and development expenses were $90.6 million, up 67.1% from the year-ago figure due to increased headcount and development costs for pipeline development.

General and administrative expenses also surged 25% year over year to $24.5 million due to higher headcount-related costs.

As of Mar 31, 2021, the company had cash, cash equivalents and marketable securities of $1.8 billion compared with $1.7 billion as at Dec 31, 2020.

Pipeline Updates

CRISPR Therapeutics is developing its lead pipeline candidate – CTX001 – an investigational ex-vivo CRISPR gene-edited therapy for treating sickle cell disease (“SCD”) and transfusion-dependent beta thalassemia (“TDT”), in partnership with Vertex.

Earlier this month, Vertex increased its investment in the existing collaboration agreement with CRISPR Therapeutics for the manufacture and commercialization of CTX001. Under the amended deal, Vertex will lead the global development and future commercialization of CTX001, which it believes has significant commercial opportunity.

Enrollment and dosing are currently ongoing for both SCD and TDT studies on CTX001. The company plans to complete enrollment in both studies this year. Earlier this week, the European Medicines Agency granted Priority Medicines (“PRIME”) designation to CTX001 for the treatment of TDT. The candidate already enjoys a PRIME designation for treating SCD.

CRISPR Therapeutics is also developing three gene-edited allogeneic cell therapy programs, chimeric antigen receptor T cell (CAR-T) candidates, CTX110, CTX120 and CTX130, for the treatment of hematological and solid-tumor cancers.

The phase I CARBON study is evaluating the safety and efficacy of several dose levels of CTX110 for treating relapse/refractory CD19+ B-cell malignancies. The company expects additional data readouts for CTX110 in the ongoing year.

Meanwhile, a phase I study is investigating the safety and efficacy of several dose levels of CTX120 for the treatment of relapsed or refractory multiple myeloma. Also, two independent ongoing phase I studies are evaluating the safety and efficacy of several dose levels of CTX130 for treating solid tumors and certain hematologic malignancies. Top-line data from all the studies is expected later in 2021.

This apart, CRISPR Therapeutics, along with partner ViaCyte, plans to initiate a phase I/II study on their allogeneic stem cell-derived therapy for the treatment of Type 1 diabetes later in 2021.

Zacks Rank & Stocks to Consider

CRISPR Therapeutics currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Better-ranked stocks in the biotech sector include ASLAN Pharmaceuticals Limited (ASLN - Free Report) and Nabriva Therapeutics AG (NBRV - Free Report) , both carrying a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) at present. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

ASLAN Pharmaceuticals’ loss per share estimates have narrowed 26.3% for 2021 and 43.9% for 2022 over the past 60 days. The stock has surged 84.7% year to date.

Nabriva Therapeutics’ loss per share estimates have narrowed 40.9% for 2021 and 45.3% for 2022 over the past 60 days.

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