Allergan (AGN) - Get Allergan plc Report is moving into the gene-editing business through a licensing agreement with Editas Medicine (EDIT) - Get Editas Medicine, Inc. Report , one of several companies developing potentially curative therapies based on CRISPR technology.
The deal announced Tuesday gives Allergan exclusive access to five Editas programs aimed at serious, inherited eye diseases, including its lead therapy LCA10 for leber congenital amaurosis, a rare, degenerative retinal disease that causes blindness in children.
Editas is on track to start the first human clinical trial of LCA10 this year.
Allergan is paying $90 million to Editas for rights to the five gene-editing programs. Editas is also eligible for additional payments and royalties on sales as the therapies advance.
For Editas, aligning with Allergan gives the young, gene-editing startup access to an experienced development and marketing team. For its part, Allergan spends a relatively small amount of money for access to a potentially curative technology, which if successful, will strengthen its existing eye care business.
CRISPR aims to treat genetic diseases with a type of molecular scissors capable of cutting out defective, disease-causing genes in patients. Editas recently won a closely watched patent lawsuit against CRISPR rivals CRISPR Therapeutics (CRSP) - Get CRISPR Therapeutics AG Report and Intellia (NTLA) - Get Intellia Therapeutics, Inc. Report .
Editas shares were up 10% to $27.41 in Tuesday trading.
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