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Intellia Therapeutics’ gene-editing tech like a pair of scissors, CEO says

Big bet on gene editing

Intellia Therapeutics is hoping to transform the future of medicine with its gene-editing technology, which its CEO likened to a pair of scissors.

"Add a ZIP code to the scissors and direct it to specific regions of your human genome to make edits, very similar to Microsoft Word where you are fixing a word that may have been misspelled," Nessan Bermingham said in an interview with CNBC's "Closing Bell " on Thursday.

Right now, any genetic disease is on the table. The technology can repair a mutation or modification within the DNA or insert a fragment of DNA to allow the company to generate a therapeutic protein for a specific disease, he said.

"We are now actually starting to better understand application and the breadth of the application of the technology today."

DNA Sequencing film strip.
Rafe Swan | Getty Images

Intellia Therapeutics went public in May and spiked 20 percent on its first day on the market.

While the trend has been for companies to stay private, Bermingham said it was important to access the capital.

"As we think about building the pipeline and the platform, having access to a lot of capital allows us to actually build it rapidly and move it quickly into the clinic," he explained.

In fact, the discovery of the technology occurred in 2012 and the first human clinical trials are already planned for 2017 and 2018.

The money needed for that can't be raised in the private market, he said.

"We know in a model system this does work. Now it's translating that into human therapeutic application," he said.