- Editas Medicine, a leading company developing CRISPR gene-editing technology, on Tuesday agreed to a small collaboration deal with Adverum Biotechnologies, gaining access to Adverum's viral vectors.
- Editas plans to test the efficacy of using Adverum's adeno-associated viral (AAV) vectors as a delivery mechanism to bring Editas' gene-edited tech to the eye.
- Adverum will receive $1 million upfront from Editas for initial testing of the AAVs, and is eligible for an additional $1 million option fee for each additional inherited retinal disease Editas hopes to target (up to five).
Editas has been busy recently. Last week, the company licensed technology tied to an improved version of Cas9 nucleases from Massachusetts General Hospital. Cas9 is a protein which binds to specific RNA molecules in order to repair or alter them.
MGH researchers had designed a type of Cas9 that minimizes off-target interactions by the Cas9 protein, a common problem with CRISPR technology.
At the end of July, Editas announced a collaboration R&D deal with the Italian San Raffaele Telethon Institute for Gene Therapy to develop genome edited hematopoietic stem cell and T-cell therapies.
This new agreement with Adverum is aimed at improving Editas' delivery capabilities.
"Our innovative vectors have the potential to deliver Editas’ genome editing components efficiently to the retina," said Paul Cleveland, CEO of Adverum.
Adverum is also eligible for unspecified development and commercial milestones as part of the deal.