CELL AND GENE THERAPY, DIAGNOSTICS
Businesswire | March 28, 2023
Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorporated and CRISPR Therapeutics announced that they have entered into a new non-exclusive licensing agreement for the use of CRISPR Therapeutics’ gene editing technology, known as CRISPR/Cas9, to accelerate the development of Vertex’s hypoimmune cell therapies for type 1 diabetes (T1D).
“We have multiple programs in our T1D portfolio including VX-880 and VX-264, which are in the clinic, as well as our hypoimmune program, in preclinical development,” said Bastiano Sanna, Ph.D., Executive Vice President and Chief of Cell and Genetic Therapies at Vertex. “Having successfully demonstrated clinical proof of concept in T1D in our VX-880 program, we are excited to deepen our relationship with CRISPR Therapeutics with this agreement, which will allow us to further accelerate our goal of generating fully differentiated, insulin-producing hypoimmune islet cells for T1D.”
“We are pleased to expand our long and successful relationship with Vertex with this collaboration which fully leverages our gene editing platform to develop hypoimmune cell therapies for T1D,” said Samarth Kulkarni, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer of CRISPR Therapeutics. “In parallel, we continue to expand our capabilities in regenerative medicine and advance our existing allogeneic gene-edited cell therapy programs.”
Under this agreement, Vertex will pay CRISPR Therapeutics $100 million up-front for non-exclusive rights to CRISPR Therapeutics’ technology for the development of hypoimmune gene-edited cell therapies for T1D. CRISPR Therapeutics will be eligible for up to an additional $230 million in research and development milestones and receive royalties on any future products resulting from this agreement.
CRISPR and ViaCyte, Inc., which was acquired by Vertex in 2022, will continue to collaborate on their existing gene-edited allogeneic stem cell therapies, using ViaCyte cells, for the treatment of diabetes under the terms of their collaboration. A Phase 1/2 study of VCTX211, an allogeneic, gene-edited, stem cell-derived product candidate for T1D, which originated under the CRISPR Therapeutics and ViaCyte collaboration, has been initiated and is ongoing. CRISPR Therapeutics will not obtain any interest in Vertex’s pre-existing pipeline of T1D products, including VX-880 and VX-264.
Vertex is a global biotechnology company that invests in scientific innovation to create transformative medicines for people with serious diseases. The company has multiple approved medicines that treat the underlying cause of cystic fibrosis (CF) — a rare, life-threatening genetic disease — and has several ongoing clinical and research programs in CF. Beyond CF, Vertex has a robust clinical pipeline of investigational small molecule, cell and genetic therapies in other serious diseases where it has deep insight into causal human biology, including sickle cell disease, beta thalassemia, APOL1-mediated kidney disease, pain, type 1 diabetes, and alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency.
Founded in 1989 in Cambridge, Mass., Vertex's global headquarters is now located in Boston's Innovation District and its international headquarters is in London. Additionally, the company has research and development sites and commercial offices in North America, Europe, Australia and Latin America. Vertex is consistently recognized as one of the industry's top places to work, including 13 consecutive years on Science magazine's Top Employers list and one of Fortune’s Best Workplaces in Biotechnology and Pharmaceuticals and Best Workplaces for Women.
MEDTECH, INDUSTRIAL IMPACT
Businesswire | April 03, 2023
Sonoma Biotherapeutics, Inc. and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: REGN) today announced a collaboration to apply their scientific and clinical expertise and respective technology platforms to the discovery, development and commercialization of novel regulatory T cell (Treg) therapies for autoimmune diseases. The collaboration will bring together Regeneron’s industry-leading VelociSuite® technologies for the discovery and characterization of fully human antibodies and T cell receptors (TCRs) with Sonoma Biotherapeutics’ pioneering approach to developing and manufacturing gene-modified Treg cell therapies.
Under the terms of the agreement, Sonoma Biotherapeutics will receive $75 million in upfront payments, which includes a $30 million equity investment in Sonoma by Regeneron. Sonoma is also eligible to receive a $45 million development milestone payment. Regeneron and Sonoma will jointly research and develop Treg cell therapies for ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease and two other undisclosed indications, with a Regeneron option for a fifth indication. The parties will equally co-fund research and development for all potential products and share equally any future commercial expenses and profits. Regeneron will have the option to lead late-stage development and commercialization on all products globally, with Sonoma retaining rights to co-promote all such products in the United States. Sonoma will also retain full ownership of its lead cell therapy candidate, SBT-77-7101, and other programs in development.
“We are thrilled to collaborate with Regeneron with the goal of developing best-in-class Treg therapies for ulcerative colitis, Crohn's, and other diseases,” said Jeff Bluestone, Ph.D., Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Sonoma Biotherapeutics. “Regeneron has a track record of seeking out pioneers in their fields and forging successful partnerships. This collaboration will combine Regeneron’s proven technology and clinical expertise with Sonoma Bio’s proprietary Treg platform and Treg research enterprise to develop therapies that restore balance to the immune system and potentially cure disease.”
“Regeneron’s investigational pipeline includes a diverse range of cutting-edge scientific approaches, and we are pleased to expand this toolkit further through a partnership with Sonoma to explore the potential of engineered Treg cell therapies with enhanced functionality and the ability to target specific tissues,” said George D. Yancopoulos, M.D., Ph.D., Co-Founder, President and Chief Scientific Officer of Regeneron. “Both Regeneron and Sonoma have strong foundations in basic scientific research, and by bringing together our complementary expertise, we hope to harness the power of Tregs to make further progress in the treatment of autoimmune and inflammatory diseases.”
Treg cells act as sentinels that survey the body for unwanted immune attacks and rebalance the immune system. Tregs as a therapeutic modality potentially possess multiple therapeutic effects, within a single medicine, helping overcome the multifaceted nature of autoimmune and inflammatory disease. Emerging research shows that enhanced Treg cells work directly at the site of inflammation and have the potential to create a durable response. This paradigm-shifting approach could possibly transform treatments for autoimmune and inflammatory diseases.
About Sonoma Biotherapeutics
Sonoma Biotherapeutics is a clinical-stage biotechnology company developing engineered regulatory T cell (Treg) therapies to treat serious autoimmune and inflammatory diseases by restoring balance to the immune system. Founded by pioneers in Treg biology and cell therapy, the company is employing proprietary platform technologies and approaches to develop a new generation of targeted and durable Treg cell therapies. Sonoma Biotherapeutics is based in South San Francisco and Seattle.
INDUSTRIAL IMPACT, MEDICAL
Molecular Assemblies, Inc. | March 15, 2023
On March 14, 2023, Molecular Assemblies, Inc., a leading life sciences company, made a significant announcement regarding its enzymatic DNA synthesis technology. The company has successfully shipped the first enzymatically synthesized oligonucleotides to leading researchers in biotechnology, academic, and synthetic biology. The capacity to synthesize lengthy, extremely pure DNA promptly utilizing a proprietary Fully Enzymatic Synthesis (FES) technology solves critical unmet demands in DNA synthesis, thus allowing demanding and high-value applications such as CRISPR gene editing.
Long, highly pure single-stranded oligonucleotides are critical in various applications, such as CRISPR gene editing tools used in therapeutic development, research discovery and protein engineering. However, the availability of desired sequences required to make advanced edits has been a significant bottleneck.
Molecular Assemblies' Key Client Program gives chosen researchers priority access to lengthy and customized oligonucleotides synthesized utilizing the company's FES technology. Thanks to this initiative, customers are expected to speed up their research in CRISPR gene editing and other applications needing long oligonucleotides. In addition, key customers can give input to shape the future of enzymatic DNA synthesis. Molecular Assemblies plans to present more details about the technology at the SynBioBeta 2023 conference in Oakland, California, from May 23-25.
Molecular Assemblies' President and CEO Michael J. Kamdar commented, "With the achievement of this significant commercial milestone, we are proving that fully enzymatic synthesis can deliver the DNA that customers want today, without compromise," He further emphasized, "Customers want application-ready DNA, unrestricted by length and sequence-complexity, which we know is essential to power new breakthroughs in scientific research and accelerate innovation for many industries, including next generation medicines and technologies."
(Source – PR Newswire)
About Molecular Assemblies, Inc.
Molecular Assemblies, Inc. is a leading company dedicated to developing enzymatic DNA synthesis technology to address key challenges in DNA synthesis. Its proprietary Fully Enzymatic Synthesis (FES) technology aims to provide an innovative solution to produce long, pure DNA quickly, efficiently, and sustainably. As a result, molecular Assemblies' FES technology has the potential to transform the field of DNA synthesis by enabling the production of high-quality, long oligonucleotides. This development has significant implications for research discovery, therapeutic development, and protein engineering, particularly in the context of CRISPR gene editing. The company was founded in 2013 and is headquartered in San Diego, California. It has received significant funding from various sources, including venture capital firms, angel investors, and government agencies.