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

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By Divya Grover

<span class="articleLocation”>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.



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