The promising research of a gene editing tool acquires major funding from Vertex, a pharmaceutical company eager to invest and believe in the future of cropping human DNA.
- Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc. and CRISPR Therapeutics made a $105 million deal
- Vertex will be funding the research with $75 million and taking $30 million equity stake
- CRISPR will target gene editing of faulty DNA for multiple diseases
- With additional funding, research will continue, focusing on cystic fibrosis, sickle cell disease, and others
CRISPR is the “genome-editing tool” that would essentially cut out infected parts of the DNA, and paste it into a database that will help the body remember the virus. There are multiple potential uses to the CRISPR system, depending on its approach, and the various proteins that it uses.
CRISP-Cas9, for example, is the protein that would cut through DNA, which has been recently discussed through editing pig genomes. It works like a molecular scissor, similar to how a simple cropping tool would work on a computer. It’s an exceptional system through which various genetic diseases could be detected and potentially eliminated before they even begin.
CRISPR-Cas1 and CRISP-Cas2 are the “guardians”, which essentially take the faulty parts cut out and insert them into a CRISPR locus, where it would remember the virus for future infections. If development progresses, this could mean exceptional things for both the medical and scientific community. By using the very complex and innovative system, not only diseases will be ‘cut out’, but will also be unlikely to return again.
Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc. seem to find promise in CRISP Therapeutics, as they have recently funded their research and partnered up for future developments. The two companies recently made a $105 million deal in cash and equity to ensure further study.
According to Roger Novak, chief executive of CRISPR, it made sense for them to conduct their research together. With this partnership, they will have access to funds that will help support their research programs. Due to the drastic change in their financial situation, they now have further “flexibility” to conduct more studies on their cutting-edge technique.
Vertex invested $75 million initially, and will be taking a $30 million worth equity stake eventually. This shows exceptional faith, though it should be noted that among all the gene-editing tools available, CRISPR-Cas9 has been proven to be the most promising. This could pave the way for future permanent treatments of a wide variety of conditions.
In the beginning, the system will be focusing on cystic fibrosis, an obstructive lung disease, that has been the main focus of Vertex’s drug development. In the future, the technology will expand to sickle cell disease, and many others. It will hopefully turn out successful, and efficiently revolutionize the way we approach genetic conditions.
Read more about CRISPR-Cas9 gene-editing here.
Image source: transposagenbio.com