Shares of CRISPR Therapeutics (NASDAQ: CRSP) were jumping 10.1% higher as of 10:58 a.m. ET on Friday. The solid move followed Thursday’s gain of more than 8%.
There’s a good reason for this accelerated momentum for the gene-editing stock. On Thursday, CRISPR Therapeutics and its partner, Vertex Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: VRTX), announced that the United Kingdom’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) approved Casgevy (exa-cel) for treating rare blood disorders sickle cell disease (SCD) and transfusion-dependent beta-thalassemia (TDT).
At first glance, the U.K. approval might not seem to be all that big of a deal. After all, there are only around 2,000 patients in the U.K. who will likely be eligible for Casgevy. More importantly, Vertex and CRISPR Therapeutics must now secure reimbursement in the U.K. Bluebird Bio ended up throwing in the towel in Europe for its gene therapies despite winning regulatory approvals because it couldn’t reach an agreement on an acceptable price.
However, investors know that CRISPR Therapeutics has an advantage that Bluebird didn’t: a big partner with experience in negotiating with European agencies. They also likely expect a price tag of at least $1 million for Casgevy, which would translate to a significant market opportunity in the U.K.
The U.K. approval could bode well for CRISPR Therapeutics and Vertex’s chances of approval in other countries as well. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has set PDUFA dates of Dec. 8, 2023, for SCD and March 30, 2024, for TDT.
I think that CRISPR Therapeutics stock has even more room to run. Approvals in the U.S. seem likely to provide additional catalysts, in my view.
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Keith Speights has positions in Vertex Pharmaceuticals. The Motley Fool has positions in and recommends CRISPR Therapeutics and Vertex Pharmaceuticals. The Motley Fool recommends Bluebird Bio. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.
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