Why 2022 is a make-it or break-it year for CRISPR

2022 will be a critical year of execution for the gene-editing technology known as CRISPR. Several biotechs are advancing into human clinical trials, and the results could show the potential — or limits — of gene editing to treat genetic diseases. Found in the immune system of bacteria, CRISPR is designed to fix”typos” in our genetic code. Positive results from these human trials could change medicine and catapult a new crop of biotechs into the highest ranks of the drug industry.

But despite the excitement and the potential of the technology, some issues could derail it. The field is grappling with challenges including safety and accessible pricing.

Insider talked with more than 20 experts including CEOs of gene-editing startups, top scientists at large biotech companies, Wall Street analysts, and venture capitalists to find out why 2022 will be a make-or-break year for the field.

“The concern that occupies my mind the most right now is affordability and accessibility of genome-editing technology,” Jennifer Doudna, part of the Nobel Prize-winning team that discovered CRISPR, wrote in an email to Insider. “We’re approaching a time when we will have the ability to use CRISPR to cure genetic diseases, but the question becomes ‘For whom?’ If the cost is so high that insurance companies won’t pay for therapies, then we’re not fully addressing the problem.”




IGI / UC Berkeley



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