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Eli Lilly, Verve Therapeutics to Collaborate on Gene-Editing Therapy for ASCVD

Cholesterol blocking artery stock photo

NEW YORK – Eli Lilly and Verve Therapeutics on Thursday said they have entered into an exclusive research collaboration to advance a preclinical gene-editing therapy for atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) into the clinical stage.

Under the terms of the agreement, the companies will advance Boston-based Verve's in vivo gene-editing therapy that targets the LPA gene, variation in which can lead to elevated levels of lipoprotein(a), an established risk factor for ASCVD. The drug is being developed for patients with ASCVD and high levels of Lp(a).

Verve is responsible for R&D of the Lp(a) program through the end of Phase I clinical development with Lilly funding research program costs. Lilly is responsible for development, manufacturing, and commercialization after that.

Indianapolis-based Lilly will pay Verve $60 million in a combined upfront payment and equity investment, extending Verve's cash runway into 2026, Verve Cofounder and CEO Sekar Kathiresan said in a statement.

Verve will be eligible to receive up to $465 million based on research, development, and commercial milestones, and tiered royalties based on net sales. However, in lieu of milestone payments and royalties, Verve also has the option to co-fund and share margins globally on the Lp(a) program.