What happened

Verve Therapeutics (VERV -4.46%), a biotech company specializing in gene-editing therapies to treat cardiovascular disease, has seen its shares rise 44.9% so far this week, according to data from S&P Global Intelligence. The stock closed last Friday at $23.71 and opened on Monday at $25.06. It hit a weekly high of $36.79 on Wednesday. Over the past 52 weeks, the stock's low is $10.70 and its high is $78.

So what

On Wednesday, the company's announced a collaboration with Vertex Pharmaceuticals (VRTX 2.86%) to develop a gene-editing program to treat an undisclosed liver disease. As part of a four-year deal, Vertex will underwrite the costs of the program. It sent Verve an upfront payment of $25 million and bought $35 million worth of Verve stock. Verve also will be eligible for $66 million in success payments and up to $345 million in milestone payments and royalties on future net sales.

The next day, Verve said it was selling $225 million worth of stock in a secondary offering. Ordinarily, word of that kind of share dilution would send the stock plummeting, but the good news about the deal with Vertex was enough to keep the shares buoyant.

Verve is a clinical-stage gene-editing company with two promising therapies in its pipeline. The first, VERVE-101, is intended to be a single-dose treatment to turn off the PCSK9 gene (which produces low-density lipoprotein) in the liver to keep patients' cholesterol levels low, making them less likely to develop cardiovascular disease. The first phase 1B study of VERVE-101 began dosing patients on July 12. The other program targets the ANGPTL3 gene, which regulates cholesterol and triglyceride metabolism.

Now what

Verve, founded in 2018, had its initial public offering in June 2021. As with any young biotech, there's plenty of risk here, but its deal with Vertex shows that others with expertise in the space see potential in Verve.

This stock is the type of investment that would be suitable for those who don't mind a little risk and have the ability to hold on for the long term as they await the benefits. The company certainly could have appeal as a buyout candidate. The infusion of cash from Vertex is a particularly big deal because, last year, Verve said that the $360.4 million in cash it had on the books was only enough to fund operations through 2024.