CRISPR Stocks Rise After Chinese Researcher Claims First Gene-Edited Babies

Shares of Crispr Therapeutics (CRSP), Editas Medicine (EDIT) and Intellia Therapeutics (NTLA) are on the rise after a Chinese researcher claimed that he helped make the world's first genetically edited babies. The trio of public companies are developing therapies using the technology known as CRISPR, which is the method He Jiankui says he used in China.

FIRST GENETICALLY-EDITED BABIES: A Chinese researcher claims that he helped make the world's first genetically edited babies, twin girls born this month whose DNA he said he altered, according to Associated Press. The researcher, He Jiankui of Shenzhen, said he altered embryos for seven couples during fertility treatments, with one pregnancy resulting thus far, the report noted, adding that the goal was not to cure or prevent an inherited disease, but to try to bestow a trait that few people naturally have, namely an ability to resist possible future infection with HIV, the AIDS virus. This kind of gene editing is banned in the U.S. because the DNA changes can pass to future generations and it risks harming other genes. According to the publication, some U.S. scientists have denounced the Chinese report as human experimentation.

PRICE ACTION: In morning trading, shares of Crispr Therapeutics have gained about 2% to $36.32, Editas Medicine's stock has risen almost 3% to $28.83, and Intellia Therapeutics has advanced over 3% to $17.75. Meanwhile, shares of Sangamo Therapeutic (SGMO), which uses a gene-editing platform known as Zinc finger nuclease, is up about 3% to $11.37.

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