(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
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
(Reporting by Divya Grover in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio