Alphabet Bets Big on Gene Editing
|Source: Stock Image of Gene Editing|
Goal: Therapies to Safely Edit Human Genome to Permanently Reduce Heart Disease Risk
Coronary heart disease is the leading cause of death worldwide. Alphabet's venture capital arm GV is leading a $58.5 million investment to launch Verve Therapeutics. Verve, based in Cambridge, MA, has been founded by a renowned team of researchers in cardiovascular genetics and gene editing. They are developing therapies that involve editing the human genome to permanently reduce the risk of heart disease. The company will use the funding to go into early stage testing of its therapies on animals.
The company says it will develop treatments only by editing adult cells so that the effects of genetic manipulation can't be passed on to future generations. Also, it plans to focus on adults at risk of coronary artery disease.
Verve's approach is to edit the genes of adults at risk of coronary artery disease to mirror those individuals whose genes correlate with a much lower risk of heart disease and heart attack. Alphabet is the parent company of Google. Gene editing remains a controversial therapy because of concerns about safety and the potential impact on future generations. This particular approach and startup are of interest to watch.