Engineering the Genome: Challenges and Opportunities in the Next Wave of Medicine

Technology’s ability to rewrite our genetic code is becoming one of the most powerful therapeutic arsenals of all time. We’ve gone from small molecules, to antibodies, to using biological machinery itself as we engineer our genomes to treat diseases. This is a huge paradigm shift, as these “living medicines” have given us the power to precisely target, eliminate, and even potentially cure disease—with a single dose of a drug.

In this talk, a16z bio deal partner Andy Tran walks us through the scientific developments and industry tailwinds that are bringing us into the new era of gene therapies, explaining the technological breakthroughs that advanced us from early gene therapy techniques, to using CRISPR as an engineering platform (CRISPR 2.0), and where it’s going next. Along the way, Tran shares the challenges that need to be met in order to bring these therapies to as many patients as possible, as well as the enormous potential opportunities for startups in the space.

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