Intellia Therapeutics, a Cambridge, Mass.-based developer of therapeutic products using CRISPR/Cas9 technology for gene editing and repair, has announced a five-year R&D collaboration with Novartis to accelerate the ex vivo development of new CRISPR/Cas9-based therapies using chimeric antigen receptor T cells (CARTs) and hematopoetic stem cells (HSCs).
CRISPR/Cas9-based gene editing holds promise across a range of gene therapy applications, including blood disorders, cancer and other genetic based diseases. It has been shown to be an efficient and precise method for gene editing across multiple cell and tissue types, making it an ideal platform for ex vivo applications, such as CART- and HSC-based therapies, as well as in vivo applications.
Novartis receives exclusive rights to develop all collaboration programs focused on engineered CARTs. Within HSCs, Novartis and Intellia will jointly advance multiple programs, and have agreed to a process for assigning development and ownership rights, which will enable Intellia to develop its own proprietary internal HSC pipeline.
In addition to increasing its equity holding in Intellia, Novartis is making an upfront payment, and providing technology access fees and funding for R&D programs during the five-year term of the collaboration. Intellia also is eligible to receive downstream success-based milestones and royalties. Intellia will gain access to certain Novartis intellectual property and technology for the development of its own product pipeline. Intellia also reserves the right to pursue additional enabling partnerships in other areas of therapeutic interest.