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Twist Bioscience, Adicet Bio Ink Cancer Collaboration; Barclays Initiates Twist Coverage

NEW YORK – Twist Bioscience announced on Monday a collaboration with Adicet Bio on T cell-based cancer therapies.

Separately, investment bank Barclays initiated coverage of Twist last week with an "Overweight" rating.

Twist and Adicet will collaborate on the discovery of gamma delta T cell therapies against five undisclosed targets. They will work to engineer immune cells with fully human chimeric antigen receptors and T-cell receptors directed to disease-specific cell surface antigens.

Twist will provide its single-chain variable fragment and single-domain VHH antibody (nanobody) technologies to discover unique target-specific binders.

Under the terms of the deal, Twist will receive an undisclosed upfront technology license fee for each program as well as clinical and regulatory milestone payments and royalties for any product resulting from the selected targets.

"There is huge potential in using gamma delta T cells for the treatment of a wide range of cancers, and Adicet is leading the development in this field," Twist CEO and cofounder Emily Leproust said in a statement. "We look forward to partnering with Adicet to translate these target-engagement technologies into next-generation off-the-shelf, CAR-T therapies and to potentially accelerate the treatment of patients with cancer."

Menlo Park, California-based Adicet has a pipeline of off-the-shelf gamma delta T cells that can be engineered with CARs and TCRs to enhance tumor targeting or facilitate innate and adaptive immune responses.

Twist Bioscience, based in South San Francisco, California, manufactures synthetic DNA and is pursuing several applications enabled by that technology. Its Twist Biopharma subsidiary has recently struck deals for antibody development with firms such as Germany's Boehringer Ingelheim and Japan's Kyowa Kirin.

Barclays set a price target for shares of Twist at $140. "Highlighting companies that harness biology to produce goods and solve many of the planet's resource issues will be a constant theme from us. Across the synthetic biology ecosystem, Twist is the first layer of the synbio stack," Barclays analyst Luke Sergott wrote in a note to investors. "It all starts with DNA, and we believe Twist can write it longer, faster, better, and cheaper."

In Monday morning trading on the Nasdaq, shares of Twist were down 4 percent at $116.87.