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CRISPR Therapeutics Founding Scientist, Emmanuelle Charpentier Awarded 2015 Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences

Basel, Switzerland – 10 November 2014

CRISPR Therapeutics, a biopharmaceutical company focused on the gene-editing technology CRISPR/Cas9, today announced that Dr Emmanuelle Charpentier, a co-founder and advisor to the Company, has been awarded the 2015 Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences. Dr Charpentier, head of the Regulation in Infection Biology department at the Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung (Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research) in Braunschweig, Germany, was honored for her pioneering work in the development of the CRISPR/Cas9 genome-editing tool.

CRISPR/Cas9 is an innovative gene-editing technology that can be used to edit the genomes of organisms directly with surgical precision. It can be used to specifically target a diseased gene and either delete or correct it. Dr Charpentier co-invented the CRISPR/Cas9 technology while working at Umea University in Sweden.

“CRISPR/Cas9 has the potential to become an incredibly powerful tool for efficient and accurate genome editing. I believe that CRISPR Therapeutics, a company that I helped found and to which I licensed my rights to the CRISPR‑Cas9 foundational intellectual property, is well positioned to be in the forefront of clinical development based on this technology,” commented Dr Charpentier.

Dr Rodger Novak, chief executive officer of CRISPR Therapeutics added, “CRISPR/Cas9 is a transformative new technology that will have a significant impact on drug development and will open up the potential to cure serious human genetic diseases. We are thrilled to be working closely with one of the leading CRISPR/Cas9 researchers and co-inventor of the technology and extend our congratulations to Emmanuelle on her well-deserved recognition for the discovery.”


The Breakthrough Prize is funded by internet entrepreneurs: Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan of Facebook; Sergey Brin of Google; entrepreneur and venture capitalist Yuri Milner; and Anne Wojcicki, co-founder of 23andMe. The $3 million Prize recognizes researchers, such as Dr Charpentier who are advancing research that extends human life and cures deadly diseases. The Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences Foundation is a not-for-profit corporation dedicated to advancing research, celebrating scientists and generating excitement about the pursuit of science as a career. For more information, please visit


CRISPR Therapeutics is a Swiss biopharmaceutical company created to translate CRISPR/Cas9, an innovative gene-editing technology, into transformative medicines for serious human genetic diseases. CRISPR Therapeutics has rights to develop therapeutics based on an exclusive license to the foundational CRISPR/Cas9 intellectual property. The Company’s vision is to cure serious human diseases at the molecular level using CRISPR/Cas9. For more information, please visit


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