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Editas Medicine

Editas Medicine is a biotech company headquartered in Cambridge MA. Editas contributes to the privatization of biomedicine and research and is complicit in the displacement of Black and Brown residents from Cambridge and surrounding communities ('gentrification').

Contributions to the Privatization of Biomedicine and Research 

Editas Medicine's fame and fortune is based on a sweeping patent it holds over the use of CRISPR, a bacterial immune system, for genome-editing. The Broad Institute obtained the patent for CRISPR through its financial and legal muscle, and then gave an exclusive license to Editas for the application of CRISPR for "therapeutic" uses (which encompasses virtually all diseases and conditions). The Broad Institute and other parties fighting over the patent had no right to it. The understanding of CRISPR was developed collectively over decades by researchers across the globe largely using public funding. However Boston's neoliberal biomedical agenda is to privatize everything, and the acquisition of "intellectual property" in the form of patents is critical to this agenda.

The Broad Institute, Harvard, MIT, and their corporate partners have been hyping up the use of CRISPR in a way that presumes biological and genetic determinism - that people's traits are in their "genes" and thus that genome-editing is a panacea for treating illnesses and even for "improving" humans by enhancing traits such as "intelligence." This highly ablest discourse recycles eugenicist and white supremacist biological theories, theories which prove quite useful for obtaining patents, starting lucrative companies, and fundraising from wealthy donors.

To the extent that CRISPR has any potentially beneficial therapeutic applications in limited and specific settings, Editas forecloses these potential benefits by: (1) using its license over CRISPR to partner with other corporations that will privatize whatever useful therapies emerge from research on it; and (2) monopolizing access to CRISPR, and thereby hindering others from working on therapeutic applications within any commercial setting (all the more absurd given that no single company could tackle the range of conditions described in The Broad Institute's illegitimate patent).

Contributions to Displacement ('Gentrification')

Editas Medicine's headquarters is located in East Cambridge, MA. By gobbling up Cambridge real estate and moving a generally wealthier workforce into Cambridge and surrounding areas, Editas (along with other university, biomedical, and tech giants in the area) is driving up housing, rental, and general living costs in Cambridge and the Boston Area broadly (see figure below), leaving long-time residents, working class Black and Brown residents in particular, increasingly unable to afford remain in the communities they have called home for years if not decades.

(Image source: here)

11 Hurley St, Cambridge, MA 02141

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