Lilly targets cardiovascular disease in Verve gene editing deal

June 15, 2023

Eli Lilly has signed an exclusive research collaboration with Boston-based Verve Therapeutics focused on advancing Verve’s preclinical stage in vivo gene editing program targeting lipoprotein(a).

Elevated Lp(a) is an established and genetically validated, independent risk factor for atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease , ischemic stroke, thrombosis and aortic stenosis.

Lilly will pay Verve $60 million consisting of an upfront payment and equity investment. Verve is also eligible to receive up to $465 million in milestones. 

Per the deal, Verve will advance the R&D of the Lp(a) program through the completion of phase 1 clinical development. Lilly will then step in and handle subsequent development, manufacturing and commercialization.

Verve ran into some issues late last year when the FDA placed a hold on the company's IND application for its lead asset — a single-course, in vivo liver gene editing treatment for patients with heterozygous familial hypercholesterolemia. The agency requested that Verve provide additional data about the possible risks of accidental germline editing.