NEW YORK – UK pharmaceutical firm GSK and synthetic DNA startup Elegen said on Wednesday that they have signed a collaboration and licensing agreement that would use Elegen's DNA manufacturing in the development of GSK's vaccines and medicines.
Under the terms of the multiyear deal, GSK will provide Elegen up to $35 million in near-term financial and development support as well as purchase commitments for synthetic DNA. Elegen may also receive both near-term milestone payments relating to the development of new product features and a potential equity investment by GSK.
Other details of the agreement were not disclosed.
"Over the past year, dozens of customers, including multiple top 10 biopharma, have validated the unprecedented speed, length, accuracy, and complexity of our cell-free DNA manufacturing technology," Elegen Founder and CEO Matthew Hill said in a statement. "This collaboration will expand our offering to include the clinical production of genetic medicines, potentially including mRNA, cell, and viral gene therapies."
GSK joins Ginkgo Bioworks and Ensoma as publicly disclosed customers for the Bay Area startup. Founded in 2017, Elegen emerged from stealth in 2022. The firm offers synthetic DNA in the range of 1 kb to 7 kb, with fast turnaround and an error rate as low as 1 in 70,000, for $.25 per base.
"Unlike conventional synthesis of mRNA from linearized plasmid DNA, Elegen's DNA is produced entirely cell-free, with the potential to enable a seamless transition from discovery to clinical scale-up," the firm said in a statement. "This technology may save significant time and substantial resources spent iteratively cloning, linearizing, and purifying plasmid DNA as well as generating master cell banks."