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Jennifer Doudna may be just months away from seeing the first CRISPR-based therapy gain approval, but sitting on stage Thursday, the Nobel laureate sounded as ambitious and hungry as ever.

“How do we make sure that a technology like CRISPR — you know, no offense intended — is not just going to make a few people rich?” she told a room full of executives and investors at the STAT Breakthrough Summit in San Francisco, “but it’s going to actually have a broad, real-world impact in the future?”


CRISPR, of course, has made Doudna herself rich since she first showed the bacterial system could be used to edit genomes over a decade ago. She has co-founded at least six different companies and advises or sits on the board of at least nine others. But her focus today is on some of the more ambitious uses of and thorniest issues around CRISPR, such as how society can ensure that the powerful gene editing treatments will actually reach patients.

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