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UPDATE 1-Allergan signs deal with Editas for gene-editing-based eye treatments

(Adds details, shares)

March 14 Allergan plc said on Tuesday it would get exclusive access and the option to license up to five of Editas Medicine Inc's experimental gene-editing-based eye treatments under a research and development deal between the two companies.

The five eye programs include Editas's lead drug, which is currently in pre-clinical development, to treat a rare, inherited eye disorder called Leber Congenital Amaurosis, the two companies said in a joint statement.

Editas' gene-editing technology is called CRISPR and it is expected to revolutionize the treatment of genetic diseases. CRISPR works as a type of molecular scissors that can trim away unwanted pieces of genetic material, and replace them with new ones.

Last month, the Broad Institute, a biological and genomic research center affiliated with MIT and Harvard, won a landmark ruling to keep valuable patents on CRISPR.

Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Editas Medicine licenses CRISPR-related intellectual property from the Broad Institute.

Allergan said it would pay Editas $90 million upfront towards the development of the five candidate programs.

Editas had cash and cash equivalents of $185.3 million as of Dec. 31. It spent nearly $27 million on research and development in the latest quarter.

Editas' shares were up 7.6 percent at $26.80 in premarket trading. Allergan's shares were off 0.7 percent at $239 in light trading. (Reporting by Divya Grover in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D'Souza)

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