It’s 2028. One of the world’s leading genome-editing companies is crowing about receiving regulatory approval for a lifesaving therapy for Duchenne muscular dystrophy, based on the genome-editing technology CRISPR-Cas9. But its celebration is cut short: A rival files a lawsuit arguing that the therapy infringes on a CRISPR patent that the rival has exclusive rights to. The next day, a judge issues an injunction ordering the company to stop selling the $1 million therapy. As the weeks pass, headlines around the world show crippled boys, who had been scheduled to receive the genetic cure, crying tears of despair. Patient groups launch a website showing how many children have died since the injunction and picket the headquarters of the litigious company, carrying mock tombstones with the names of the dead boys.

It’s 2028. One of the world’s leading genome-editing companies is crowing about receiving regulatory approval for a lifesaving therapy for Duchenne muscular dystrophy. But its rivals are also celebrating. Under the terms of an agreement reached in 2018, companies, universities, and other institutions that made overlapping genome-editing discoveries will share in the revenues from therapies each of the others developed.

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