April 2 (Reuters) - Verve Therapeutics said on Tuesday that it had paused enrollment for an early-stage study testing its experimental gene editing therapy for high cholesterol after a patient experienced a severe drug-related adverse event.

The company was testing the therapy in patients with a genetic condition that leads to high cholesterol levels, which raises the risk of heart disease. The treatment is supposed to permanently turn off a protein called PCSK9 helping reduce blood cholesterol levels.

The trial enrolled 13 patients, of which six were dosed with 0.45 milligrams of the therapy called VERVE-101.

The sixth patient dosed with VERVE-101 saw a rise in the levels of a problem-causing liver enzyme along with abnormally low levels of blood platelets within the first four days after dosing.

Verve, which has a market cap of $1.07 billion, said it is investigating the abnormalities and, based on the results, expects to work with regulatory authorities on further development of the therapy.

The genetic medicines company said it will now prioritize the development of another gene editing therapy VERVE-102, which is in development for the same condition.

The company plans to start an early-stage trial to test VERVE-102 in the second quarter of this year. (Reporting by Sneha S K in Bengaluru; Editing by Tasim Zahid)