Shares of Bluebird bio, a biotechnology company specializing in gene therapy, experienced a significant decline following the announcement of setbacks for its sickle-cell disease treatment. The stock plummeted by 41% to $2.84 on Friday, contributing to an overall decline of 60% in shares this year.

Lyfgenia: Bluebird's Approved Treatment for Sickle-Cell Disease

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted approval for Bluebird's sickle-cell disease treatment, Lyfgenia. However, this approval came with a caveat. The FDA disclosed that Lyfgenia would carry a black-box warning due to the potential risk of certain blood cancers in patients who receive the treatment.

Casgevy: A Competitor's Treatment

In addition to Bluebird's Lyfgenia, the FDA also approved Casgevy, a competing sickle-cell treatment developed by Vertex Pharmaceuticals and CRISPR Therapeutics using Crispr gene-modification technology. Notably, Casgevy does not have a black-box warning. Furthermore, it is priced at $2.2 million, making it more affordable than Bluebird's offering.

Market Reaction and Analysts' Insights

Bluebird's stock decline can be attributed to the negative market reaction following the black-box warning and the higher price tag associated with Lyfgenia. In response, Evercore analysts commented that these developments give Casgevy a competitive advantage over Bluebird's treatment due to its lack of a black-box label and lower price point.

These recent setbacks highlight the challenges faced by Bluebird bio in the highly competitive field of gene therapy for sickle-cell disease.

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