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(Tech stock columnist Jon D. Markman publishes Strategic Advantage, a lively guide to investing in the digital transformation of business and society. Click here for a trial.)

Every day the culture war over vaccines becomes more intense. Investors should ignore all of it. A new digital platform with big winners is taking shape in real-time.

Managers at Moderna ( (MRNA) - Get Moderna, Inc. Report) met with analysts Thursday and revealed that the vaccine developer intends to acquire a gene-editing company to broaden its portfolio.

Investors should consider buying Editas ( (EDIT) - Get Editas Medicine, Inc. Report) now.

The technology Moderna researchers used to create the Covid-19 vaccine is not new. Messenger RNA, or mRNA, has been around since 1961 when it was discovered by researchers at California Institute of Technology. It took the enormity of the global pandemic to push the science into the mainstream.

Traditional vaccines use a tiny bit of the actual virus, either living or weakened, to trigger an immune response. Getting the virus to a usable state can take years. The development of a vaccine for measles took 10 years.

mRNA vaccines work differently. They send messages to our cells directly to teach our immune system how to attack the virus. The only prerequisite is a digital file with the genetic sequence of the virus.

Investors should not look past this development. It’s a really big deal.

With the immune system is doing most of the heavy lifting, mRNA vaccines can go from finding the sequence in the lab to clinical trials within months, not years. Removing the hassle of working with the physical virus means cleaner progressions and more cost-effective development with no discernable trade-offs.

Plus, there is good evidence mRNA technology is effective in the fight against many other diseases.

Editas execs announced in June that clinical trials were beginning for the treatment of retinal degenerative disease. Earlier in the month Intellia ( (NTLA) - Get Intellia Therapeutics, Inc. Report) and its partner Regeneron ( (REGN) - Get Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Report) showed gene-editing was effective in the treatment of a rare liver disease. In both cases mRNA tech as the delivery platform.

This is a new digital drug development platform in the making.

Editas may not be the best takeover candidate for Moderna. The investment opportunity is Editas’ big intellectual property portfolio around gene-editing. Even with the run-up in share prices since May investors are underestimating the value of those patents.

At a share price of $55.59 the stock still seems cheap.