Why Intellia Therapeutics Is Plunging Today

What happened

In response to sharing fourth-quarter earnings, shares of Intellia Therapeutics (NASDAQ: NTLA), a biotech focused on CRISPR/Cas9 technology, fell 12% as of 11:10 a.m. EDT on Wednesday.

So what

Here's a look at the key financial numbers for the quarter:

  • Revenue was $6.7 million. Since Intellia is still a clinical-stage biotech, all of its revenue is earned from its collaboration agreements that are in place with Novartis (NYSE: NVS) and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: REGN). The result was slightly behind the $6.85 million in revenue that Wall Street had predicted.
  • Expenses rose across the board as the company continues to hire researchers and support staff. That caused the company's net loss to more than double year over year to $24 million for the period, which works out to $0.61 per share. That result was far higher than the $0.44 loss analysts had projected.
  • Cash balance at quarter end was $341 million thanks to the addition of $141 million from a common stock offering that took place in late 2017.

The worse-than-expected financial results appear to be the primary reason Wall Street is knocking down the share price today. That reaction makes sense to this Fool because Intellia's stock has been on fire since the start of 2018.

Now what

Turning to 2018, here's a look at some of the key events and guidance management has projected for the year ahead:

  • Kicking off the company's Investigational New Drug activities related to its lead product candidate, which is a hopeful treatment of transthyretin amyloidosis, by the middle of the year.
  • Sharing updated data related to the company's preclinical studies and technology at various conferences throughout the year.
  • Ramping up expenses to fund the company's clinical programs. However, thanks to the funding agreements with Novartis and Regeneron, the company believes it has enough cash on hand to fund the business through mid-2020. The runway could be extended even further if certain milestone payments are reached.

Since Intellia is still in the pre-clinical stage, I do not think investors should place too much of an emphasis on any given quarter's financial results. Instead, they should remain focused on the long-term potential of the company's technology. For that reason, if you were bullish on Intellia's prospects yesterday, I see no reason to change your tune today.

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Brian Feroldi owns shares of Regeneron Pharmaceuticals. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.