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CRISPR (CRSP) to Begin Clinical Study on Diabetes Therapy Drug

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CRISPR Therapeutics (CRSP - Free Report) , along with partner ViaCyte, announced that Health Canada has approved the clinical trial application for its investigational allogeneic stem cell-derived therapy, VCTX210. The candidate will be evaluated as a potential treatment for type 1 diabetes (T1D).

CRISPR plans to begin a phase I study to evaluate the safety, tolerability and immune evasion of VCTX210 in T1D patients. The company expects to initiate enrolment of patients by year-end.

Shares of CRISPR have plunged 43.5% so far this year against the industry’s 14.4% decrease.

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The development of VCTX210 by CRISPR and ViaCyte is part of a strategic collaboration agreement between the two companies to co-develop and co-commercialize gene-editing allogenic cell stem therapies for the treatment of diabetes. VCTX210 is the first therapy under the collaboration to enter clinical studies.

The therapies under this collaboration utilize the combination of CRISPR’s gene-editing technology and ViaCyte’s proprietary stem cell capabilities.

CRISPR’s focus remains on the development of CRISPR/Cas9-based therapeutics to develop therapies across multiple indications. While the company is yet to have a marketable drug in its portfolio, it has entered into collaboration agreements with other companies to boost its pipeline development.

The company has also collaborated with Vertex Pharmaceuticals (VRTX - Free Report) for the development and commercialization of its lead candidate, CTX001, an investigational ex vivo CRISPR gene-edited therapy undergoing separate phase I/II studies for two indications — transfusion-dependent beta thalassemia and sickle cell disease. The company has achieved target enrollment in both the above studies and expects regulatory submission for the therapy in both indications by 2022-end.

We note that Vertex Pharmaceuticals is also evaluating its allogenic stem cell-derived therapy, VX-880, in a phase I/II study as a potential treatment for T1D. Last month, Vertex Pharmaceuticals reported that 90 days after treatment with a single infusion of VX-880 at half target dose showed the restoration of insulin production.

Apart from CTX001, CRISPR Therapeutics is also developing three chimeric antigen receptor T cell (CAR-T) therapy candidates — CTX110, CTX120, and CTX130 — for the treatment of hematological and solid-tumor cancers.

Zacks Rank & Stocks to Consider

CRISPR Therapeutics currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Some better-ranked stocks in the same sector include Precision BioSciences (DTIL - Free Report) and Synlogic (SYBX - Free Report) . While Precision BioSciences sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), Synlogic carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) at present. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Precision BioSciences’ loss per share estimates for 2021 have narrowed from $1.17 to $0.88 in the past 30 days. The same for 2022 has narrowed from $2.39 to $2.05 in the past 30 days. Shares of Precision BioSciences have risen 16.3% in the year so far.

Precision BioSciences’ earnings beat estimates in the last four quarters, delivering an average of 76.9%.

Synlogic’s loss per share estimates for 2021 have narrowed from $1.22 to $1.18 in the past 30 days. The same for 2022 has narrowed from $1.19 to $1.07 in the past 30 days. Shares of Synlogic have risen 27.3% in the year so far.

Synlogic’s earnings beat estimates in three of the last four quarters and met expectations on one occasion, delivering an average surprise of 3.41%.

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