Fear Of Missing Out is such a big deal that it gets its own acronym in my book (FOMO — and a clever FOMO-fueling website here), and it drives investors to take huge chances just so they don’t have to worry about missing a chance at stupendous gains. That’s what many newsletter ads use to push your buttons, and this latest one for Oxford Club’s Lightning Trend Trader is no exception… how can a red-blooded investor ignore a promise that “303,316% growth kicks off November 1?”
Lightning Trend Trader ($1,495/year these days) has had a couple solid teaser picks over the past year or so in AbbVie (ABBV, teased as “The Genius Molecule”) and Portola (PTLA, pitched as the “Universal Antidote”), though Lichtenfeld has also pitched plenty of stinkers over the years according to our tracking spreadsheets. I have no idea whether that’s indicative of the rest of their portfolio (if you’ve ever tried that newsletter, click here to share your experience with your fellow investors)… so let’s see what he’s hyping this time.
What’s this “Genesis Cure” they’re hinting at? Here are some clues to whet your appetite:
“… one small Boston company just developed a single technology with the potential to eliminate 4,800 rare diseases….
“The MIT Technology Review calls it ‘the biggest biotech discovery of the past century.’
“Science magazine reports, ‘The field of biology is now experiencing a transformative phase with the advent of [this technology].'”
And plenty of rosy upside for you:
“All told, I’m projecting you could multiply your money tenfold in the short term… 29-fold in the medium term… and much, much more as this technology sweeps through the $1 trillion rare disease market.
“In other words, you have a very real opportunity here to turn $1,000 into more than $30,000…”
The ad also cites the potential for this “Genesis Cure” to help with Duchenne muscular dystrophy, and cites Dr. Eric Olson at the University of Texas.
And Lichtenfeld goes on to hint at the gene editing technology being teased a bit more:
“This scientist successfully repurposed a naturally occurring enzyme to edit single genes with striking accuracy…
“Suddenly, using this enzyme, doctors could fix the tiny imperfections in genes.
“It has the potential to eliminate the source of virtually EVERY rare disease.
“If your DNA is a blueprint… and a rare disease is just a single bad instruction…
“The Genesis Cure literally erases the bad instruction and replaces it with the right one.
“Every expert who’s taken a serious look at this technology immediately realized it’s the most incredible medical breakthrough since vaccines or even antibiotics.
“The prestigious Nature science journal says it’s like ‘editing out disease.'”
So we can stop there when it comes to big picture — we now know from that that we’re dealing with one of the CRISPR stocks, most of which have been teased and recommended at least a few times by many of the big biotech and technology newsletters — and we’re almost certainly being pointed to one of the triumvirate of publicly traded Cambridge, MA biotechs that claim leadership in gene editing using CRISPR technology (and which, along with other interested parties, are fighting over the patents tooth and claw).
But which one? Is it Editas Medicine (EDIT), CRISPR Therapeutics (CRSP), or Intellia Therapeutics (NTLA)? Let’s check the clues…
“From an investment standpoint, one company behind this technology is on the verge of unprecedented growth.
“Once our brilliant Harvard Ph.D. realized what a revolutionary system she had on her hands…
“She immediately applied for the patents to protect her breakthrough.
“She was the very first person to ever apply for a patent on the Genesis Cure.
“And her company is about to take the $1 trillion rare disease market by storm.”
OK, that pretty well answers the question about “which one” … but let’s check the other clues, just to be sure:
“If you’re looking for the type of biotech that can leap 10-fold in a very short span, this small under-the-radar company is in the perfect position.
“It has just $16 million of revenue… But it’s poised to be the driver of a whole new industry surrounding the Genesis Cure.
“The company is backed by the prestigious University of California, home to a whopping 61 Nobel Prize winners.
“And it holds 19 patents for the Genesis Cure.”
“The company just inked a $293 million deal with pharmaceutical giant Novartis…
“It also made a deal worth $445 million with Regeneron Pharmaceuticals.”
OK, so yes, the Thinkolator can confirm that this is Intellia Therapeutics (NTLA).
What I can’t do is tell you whether it’s going up or not. EDIT, NTLA and CRSP are all moving forward, all actively trying to develop fantastic cures for disease using their variations of CRISPR gene-editing technology, and they’ve all got great partners and plenty of funding and, probably, a long row to hoe before they get to the point where they might actually be selling a product.
This is a gene editing technology, not a drug. It’s not a compound that can alter your body’s chemistry to defeat a disease, or even an antibody that you can either add to your body or inspire with a vaccine to help your body fight off an ailment or infection, it’s a whole new and extremely personalized way of attacking genetic defects or problems, and we’re probably a long way from knowing how it will be commercialized.
That doesn’t mean it’s not worthy of funding or research, of course, or even that investors won’t get rich by backing one or more of these CRISPR horses — it just means there’s not much to the finances of these companies yet, they’re still, despite the vast funding they have available from investors and partners, pretty early-stage R&D projects as far as I can tell. I’m not even really sure what their business model will be — selling a product? A technique? Licensing a technology for other researchers? Charging per cure?
And, of course, there’s the constant legal battle over patents that will be worked out over time, probably benefitting one of these folks over others — most recently it’s been Editas with the upper hand in patent court, but I have no idea what the last word will be.
So I’m left with this… I’ll paraphrase what I wrote to the Irregulars a few weeks back when there was a very similar teaser pitch from Michael Robinson that was hinting at competitor Editas:
If one thing is clear above all others, it’s that I’ve got no personal “edge” to be gained by gaming the decisions of a patent court or judging the relative merits of different highly advanced gene editing technologies… you’ve got to know your limitations. I’m certainly not an expert on any of this stuff, so all I can really tell you is that yes, Marc Lichtenfeld is teasing Intellia (NTLA)… and no, there’s no way the stock price is going to rise tenfold “in the short term.” (Assuming, in this case, that “short term” means a few months or so.)
Beyond that, well, you’re on your own — what do you think? Expect great things ahead for Intellia Therapeutics? Believe that their patents are vastly undervalued? Think other researchers have leapfrogged NTLA with subsequent patents or technologies? Does your brain hurt yet? Let us know with a comment below.