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What's the Best Way to Invest in Genetics Stocks?

The gene editing space is full of exciting investment opportunities, but it isn't exactly a low-risk industry. In this Fool Live video clip, recorded on May 24, Fool.com contributor Brian Orelli, PhD, along with Healthcare Bureau Chief Corinne Cardina and Chief Growth Officer Anand Chokkavelu discuss how investors should best approach it.

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Anand Chokkavelu: Then as we look to fit this in part of a larger portfolio, assuming the folks are more like me where it's not your focus but you want to have but you've liked the idea of the technology. How would someone who wants exposure to the industry go about getting it in the best way?

Corinne Cardina: Of course, it is very individual and we don't give personalized investing advice. Broadly speaking, with biotech investing you're really looking for those long-tail wins and it can be really hard to figure out which ones are going to end up being the successful moonshot if you're not a scientist who has an edge over other investors in understanding this technology and the industry and the competitive edge that maybe CRISPR editing versus base editing might bring. Even then, you can still be wrong because clinical trial outcomes can be very surprising. For someone like me who does not bring that real science expertise, I am going to go for a diversified basket approach. So I want to have exposure to all of these different gene-editing stocks that could take off while minimizing my downside. I don't want to put all my eggs in my top rank stock basket because I want to make sure I have access to all the possible winners. We've talked a lot at the Fool about Cathie Wood's ETFs. I think her genomic ETF, it holds all three of these stocks plus a whole lot of other ones including more traditional genomic stocks like Invite (NYSE: NVTA) and Intellia (NASDAQ: NTLA). It also includes some of those stocks that are even earlier on like gene therapeutics with base editing that we've talked about. In a way, it's preclinical still. I like to look at what she's doing because I think she's really smart in terms of biotech investing. Her company, ARK Investments, owns almost 14 percent of CRISPR Therapeutics (NASDAQ: CRSP) as of March 15th, ARK Investments owns 15 percent of Editas (NASDAQ: EDIT) as of April 6th, ARK Investments owns 16.5 percent of Intellia as of March 31st. So she is certainly taking a basket approach. I don't think I'm smarter than her, so I think I will be taking a basket approach. You could look to the genomics ETF, you could just buy equal amounts of CRISPR, Editas and Intellia outright. But I think the bottom line is, whatever you do, you don't want to put all of your eggs in one basket no matter how risky of an investor you are. To ensure success, you're going to want exposure to more than one, definitely. But I'll see what Brian has to say too.

Brian Orelli: The other thing is these companies, while they do have some overlap in let's say beta-thalassemia and sickle cell disease, they're also going after different indications where they won't be competing with each other. I see no problem with buying all three of them and I think that's probably a smart move if you believe in CRISPR and you're willing to take the risk of a still somewhat unproven technology, I think that taking a basket approach makes a of lot of sense.

Anand Chokkavelu, CFA owns shares of CRISPR Therapeutics, Editas Medicine, Intellia Therapeutics, and Invitae. Brian Orelli, PhD has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Corinne Cardina has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Matthew Frankel, CFP has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends CRISPR Therapeutics, Editas Medicine, and Invitae. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.


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