Vertex and CRISPR Therapeutics Announce Licensing Agreement
Vertex Pharmaceuticals and CRISPR Therapeutics today 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.
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