Eli Lilly and Company has acquired Beam Therapeutics’ opt-in rights to Verve Therapeutics’ gene therapy programs for cardiovascular disease.

Millie Nelson, Editor

November 3, 2023

2 Min Read
Eli Lilly bags Beam’s licensing rights in Verve agreement for $250m
DepositPhotos/Pochatenko

Eli Lilly and Company has acquired Beam Therapeutics’ opt-in rights to Verve Therapeutics’ gene therapy programs for cardiovascular disease.

Under the terms of the deal, Lilly will give Beam an upfront payment of $200 million as well as a $50 million equity investment. Additionally, Beam is eligible to receive a further $350 million if specific clinical and regulatory milestones are met.

With a potential $600 million in total payments, Beam said the deal will extend the firm’s cash runway to the second half of 2026. Last month, the company announced its plans to let go of around 100 employees (20% of its workforce) to focus on developing its sickle cell disease candidates and extend its cash runway.

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DepositPhotos/Pochatenko

Lilly takes on the opt-in rights to co-develop and co-commercialize Verve’s base editing programs aimed at PCSK9, ANGPTL3 as well as another undisclosed target.

“As the pioneers in base editing, we’ve had a long-standing vision of enabling a wide range of disease-modifying therapies based on precision genome editing. Our strategy to achieve this has been to advance a diversified portfolio of wholly owned programs, continue to innovate in our platform, and establish creative partnerships that expand the reach of base editing and drive both near- and long-term value creation. Our initial collaboration with Verve and this new transaction with Lilly are exemplary of our execution of that strategy,” said John Evans, CEO of Beam.

“This deal provides meaningful upfront capital to advance our portfolio of clinical- and research-stage programs, with significant additional value achievable as the Verve programs advance through development. In parallel, it provides Verve with a world-class partner for the long term, given Lilly’s deep expertise and resources in the cardiovascular space. We are excited to see the broad therapeutic potential of base editing fully realized through our pipeline and through the programs enabled by our past and future collaborations.”

Beam and Verve first partnered in April 2019. However, under an amended agreement in August 2022, Beam gave Verve an exclusive, global, sublicensable licence of its base editing technology to advance and commercialize products targeting cardiovascular disease. In return, Verve granted Beam the same type of license to its GalNAc-LNP technology and the option to use this platform for development of its own programs.

“Base editing represents a potentially important new therapeutic approach for a wide range of diseases,” said Ruth Gimeno, group vice president, diabetes, obesity and cardiometabolic research at Lilly.

“This agreement expands the scope of Lilly’s ongoing relationship with Verve and gives us exposure to the full breadth of potential with Beam’s base editing platform. We believe that single-course gene editing treatments could be a compelling new therapeutic option for patients at risk of cardiovascular disease, and we look forward to working with Verve toward that goal.”

About the Author(s)

Millie Nelson

Editor, BioProcess Insider

Journalist covering global biopharmaceutical manufacturing and processing news and host of the Voices of Biotech podcast.

I am currently living and working in London but I grew up in Lincolnshire (UK) and studied in Newcastle (UK).

Got a story? Feel free to email me at [email protected]

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