Beam Therapeutics: A Gene Editing Stock

Beam Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ:BEAM), founded in 2017, is a biotech firm working on CRISPR 2.0, which is an advanced base editing technology that targets a single misspelling in the DNA code, ensuring greater accuracy. The technology basically allows scientists to permanently make specific edits to single bases in DNA and RNA, without the need of cutting the strands.

The technology could theoretically treat hundreds of genetic disorders caused by single-letter misspellings, commonly called point mutations, though the company has yet to carry out human trials for proving its efficacy in real life. Beam has several research programs in place for different rare diseases. However, it has not received regulatory approval for any clinical trial so far.

Beam went public in February 2020 by selling more than 10 million shares at $17 per share for total proceeds of approx. $180 million, giving it a market cap of around $1 billion. Its stock value has increased significantly since its IPO. The stock is currently trading at $101.67 per share, with a market value of around $5.8 billion, translating to a hefty rise of more than 5 folds in less than a year.

Most of the surge came after the company presented lab and mouse data at an annual meeting of the American Society of Hematology in December. Beam presented the data to support the safety of its CRISPR gene-editing technique for treating sickle-cell disease. The company said back then that it expects to start a trial in 2021.

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Beam shares enjoyed another rally last week for no apparent reason. Meanwhile, Stifel analyst Benjamin Burnett on Wednesday issued a price target of $84 per share for BEAM stock with a “Hold” rating, saying that he is encouraged by the company’s pre-clinical data for upcoming programs.