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News / 05.7.19

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

By Broad Institute

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.

“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 (read Broad’s policy here), Broad and Harvard scientists and staff who are affiliated with Verve are not involved in licensing or financial decisions related to the company.

About the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard

Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard was launched in 2004 to empower this generation of creative scientists to transform medicine. The Broad Institute seeks to describe all the molecular components of life and their connections; discover the molecular basis of major human diseases; develop effective new approaches to diagnostics and therapeutics; and disseminate discoveries, tools, methods, and data openly to the entire scientific community.

Founded by MIT, Harvard, Harvard-affiliated hospitals, and the visionary Los Angeles philanthropists Eli and Edythe L. Broad, the Broad Institute includes faculty, professional staff, and students from throughout the MIT and Harvard biomedical research communities and beyond, with collaborations spanning over a hundred private and public institutions in more than 40 countries worldwide. For further information about the Broad Institute, go to

About Harvard University’s Office of Technology Development

Harvard’s Office of Technology Development (OTD) promotes the public good by fostering innovation and translating new inventions made at Harvard University into useful products that are available and beneficial to society. Our integrated approach to technology development comprises sponsored research and corporate alliances, intellectual property management, and technology commercialization through venture creation and licensing. More than 70 startups have launched to commercialize Harvard technologies in the past 5 years, collectively raising more than $1.5 billion dollars in financing. To further bridge the academic-industry development gap, Harvard OTD manages the Blavatnik Biomedical Accelerator and the Physical Sciences & Engineering Accelerator. For more information, please visit