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Mass General, CRISPR Therapeutics to Develop Cancer Therapies

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – CRISPR Therapeutics and Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center (MGHCC) announced today that they have signed a two-year research collaboration and license option agreement to develop novel T-cell therapies for cancer.

The partners said they plan to use CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing to improve on therapies already in development, focusing primarily on unmet needs in hematologic cancers and solid tumors. Marcela Maus, director of the cellular immunotherapy program at MGHCC and assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, will lead the project at MGH.

Specific terms of the collaboration and licensing deal were not disclosed.

"It is becoming increasingly clear that CRISPR-Cas9 can play a major role in enabling the next generation of T-cell therapies in oncology. By combining our gene editing capabilities with Dr. Maus' pioneering expertise in T-cell therapy, we hope to accelerate our progress toward making these therapies a reality for patients suffering from cancer," Jon Terrett, head of immuno-oncology research and translation at CRISPR Therapeutics, said in a statement.

T-cell therapies have already proven beneficial for patients with specific tumor types, Maus added. Adding CRISPR to the development process has the potential to create therapies that are effective for an even wider group of patients.

This collaboration is CRISPR Therapeutics' latest deal in the immune-oncology sphere. In July, the company entered a research collaboration with Neon Therapeutics to explore using a combination of each company's proprietary technologies to develop novel T cell therapies.