The collaboration will advance Verve Therapeutics’ in vivo gene editing programme targeting lipoprotein(a) to treat atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. Credit: aodaodaodaod /

Verve Therapeutics and Eli Lilly and Company have entered an exclusive research partnership to advance the former’s preclinical stage in vivo gene editing programme targeting lipoprotein(a) (Lp(a)) to treat atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD).

Verve Therapeutics will be responsible for advancing the research and development of the Lp(a) programme by completing Phase I clinical development.

Lilly will handle the subsequent development, manufacture and commercialisation activities of the programme.

Verve Therapeutics stated that elevated Lp(a) is a genetically validated, independent risk factor for aortic stenosis, ASCVD, thrombosis and ischaemic stroke.

The company will receive a combined upfront payment and equity investment of $60m.

It will also be entitled to receive research, development and commercial milestones of up to $465m, along with tiered royalties on global net sales of the product.

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Lilly will provide funding for the Phase I clinical trials.

Verve Therapeutics will obtain the opt-in right to co-fund and share the potential margins on the Lp(a) programme across the world.

Verve Therapeutics co-founder and CEO Sekar Kathiresan stated: “Lp(a) is validated as one of [the] key drivers [of ASCVD], and as such, this programme represents another important step in our efforts to transform care.

“Blood concentrations of Lp(a) are determined almost entirely by inheritance. Unfortunately, lifestyle and currently approved lipid-lowering therapies have minimal to no impact.

“In patients with established ASCVD and elevated blood Lp(a), we believe there is a substantial opportunity for a single-course gene editing medicine to permanently lower Lp(a) levels, and we are thrilled to have joined forces with Lilly, an industry leader in cardiometabolic disease, to accelerate this programme toward patients.”

Cell & Gene Therapy coverage on Pharmaceutical Technology is supported by Cytiva.

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