Can Editas Survive After Losing Its CEO?

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Editas Medicine Inc. (NASDAQ: EDIT) shares were crushed on Tuesday after the company announced that its president and chief executive, Katrine Bosley, would be stepping down from these roles effective March 1, 2019. Bosley has served in as CEO since June 2014.

In the meantime, the board of directors has appointed Cynthia Collins, a member of the board, as interim CEO.

The board has begun to search for a permanent CEO and has retained Heidrick & Struggles to assist in its efforts. Bosley will continue with Editas in an advisory capacity until the end of 2019 to facilitate a smooth transition.

This departure comes just two months after a key FDA approval, specifically Editas’s investigational new drug application for the firm’s phase 1/2 trial of its CRISPR-based treatment for LCA10, a rare form of blindness.

Excluding Tuesday’s move, Editas had outperformed the broad markets in 2019, with the stock up about 15% year to date. However, over the past 52 weeks the stock is actually down closer to 12%.

James C. Mullen, Editas board chair, commented:

On behalf of the entire Board, I thank Katrine for her more than four years of dedicated service to Editas Medicine. Under her leadership, the Company achieved significant growth, hitting key milestones in the EDIT-101 clinical program and developing the Company’s transformative engineered cell medicines. She has helped establish Editas Medicine as a leading genome editing company with a strong foundation, well positioned to achieve its long-term goals and deliver the potential of genome editing to patients around the world.

Shares of Editas were last seen down about 21% at $20.63 on Tuesday, in a 52-week range of $17.80 to $45.02. The stock has a consensus analyst price target of $46.71.