Blindness, Edited Away: Brainstorm Health

July 26, 2019, 10:40 PM UTC

A happy summer Friday to all of you.

CRISPR gene-editing is about to reach yet another milestone in the U.S.

Editas, alongside partner Allergan (the manufacturer of Botox which is about to be swept up in a mega-deal by biotech giant AbbVie, which in turn makes the world’s best-selling drug) will launch studies using CRISPR technology to treat an inherited form of blindness derived from the rare disorder Leber congenital amaurosis 10, or LCA10.

What makes this trial so interesting is that, according to the companies, it will be the first human CRISPR trial performed “in vivo”—that is, inside the actual human body. The purpose will be to correct for a genetic deficiency that prevents normal eyesight despite a lack of structural problems with patients’ eyes themselves.

Read on for the day’s news.

Sy Mukherjee, @the_sy_guy,


AbbVie rises on earnings beat. AbbVie reported its earnings on Friday and rose about 2% in intra-day trading; the company reported a lower-than-expected fall in profits and revenues, in part thanks to the strength of its HIV franchise. But sales of its rock star, super product Humira, a drug that brought in nearly $20 billion in revenues last year alone (you may have, ahem, read a certain story of mine about it recently) continued to fall outside of the United States, where it's facing mounting competition.


Bayer gets a break in Roundup case. A California judge has delivered a multi-billion dollar boon to Bayer in the long-running dispute over the company's weed killer Roundup, which has been accused of causing cancer by some plaintiffs. A $2 billion jury verdict was reduced to just short of $87 million by the judge; but Bayer isn't exactly happy with even that decision. “We continue to believe that the verdict and damage awards are not supported by the evidence at trial and conflict with the extensive body of reliable science and conclusions of leading health regulators worldwide that confirms glyphosate-based herbicides can be used safely and that glyphosate is not carcinogenic,” said the company in a statement. (Reuters)


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