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The Boston Globe

Business

Innovation Economy

Gene therapy shows new signs of promise

Alan Smith can still recall his excitement, in the early 1990s, over early experiments in lab rats that demonstrated gene therapy’s potential power to attack diseases such as cystic fibrosis.

Smith, a former chief scientific officer at Genzyme, the Cambridge biotech company, remembers feeling like the experiments were “steppingstones” to developing a whole new wave of medicines for untreatable diseases. Often, they were touted in Genzyme’s annual reports, and the research was funded with tens of millions of dollars from stock market investors.

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