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May 7th, 2019

Harvard University, Broad Institute extend CRISPR human therapeutics license to Verve Therapeutics

Agreement enables development of genome-based therapies to protect against heart disease in adults

Cambridge, Mass. - May 7, 2019 - Harvard University and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard have issued licenses for key CRISPR-Cas9 and -Cas12a genome editing technology to Verve Therapeutics to enable development of human therapeutic applications against certain cardiovascular targets.

The license follows the inclusive innovation strategy developed by Broad, MIT, and Harvard, which allows companies to develop therapies based on genetic targets not being pursued by the primary licensee of these technologies, Editas Medicine.


A depiction of CRISPR-Cas9 in action. (Image credit: Harvard Wyss Institute.)

“CRISPR technology should be made widely and openly available, while encouraging broad development of medicines to reach many patients,” said Jesse Souweine, Chief Operating Officer at the Broad Institute. “It’s important that this technology can enable new therapies across as many channels as possible, to benefit as many patients as possible. This is why we designed our licensing structure to let researchers take maximum advantage of promising therapeutic opportunities as they arise.”

“Gene editing innovations pioneered at Harvard University and at the Broad Institute have the potential to substantially lower the risk of disease in adult patients, across a wide range of indications,” said Vivian Berlin, Managing Director, Strategic Partnerships, in Harvard’s Office of Technology Development. “We’re glad to enable continued innovation by a company that is committed to advancing therapies against coronary artery disease to the clinic.”

Sekar Kathiresan, professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and a scientific founder of Verve, will become Verve’s Chief Executive Officer. Dr. Kathiresan currently directs the Center for Genomic Medicine at MGH, the Cardiovascular Disease Initiative at Broad, and the Program in Medical and Population Genetics at Broad. He will be stepping down from his academic responsibilities in summer 2019.

Consistent with the institutions’ conflict of interest policies, Broad and Harvard scientists and staff who are affiliated with Verve are not involved in licensing or financial decisions related to the company.

Tags: crispr, Startups, Therapeutics

Press Contact: Kirsten Mabry | (617) 495-4157