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Editas, Allergan Ink $90M CRISPR-Based Eye Drug Deal

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Editas Medicine has signed a deal potentially worth more than $90 million,  giving Allergan the exclusive rights to license certain of its CRISPR genome editing-based treatments for eye diseases.

Under the terms of the deal, Allergan subsidiary Allergan Pharmaceuticals International Limited will have exclusive options to license up to five of Editas' ocular drug candidates including LCA10, its preclinical treatment for Leber congenital amaurosis, an early candidate for the first disease to be treated medically with CRISPR. Allergan will also have access to CRISPR/Cpf1, an alternative DNA targeting nuclease developed by Editas Cofounder and Broad Institute Researcher Feng Zhang.

Editas will receive an upfront payment of $90 million for the development of the five drug programs, and stands to receive additional payments upon achieving undisclosed near-term milestones specifically related to LCA10. It may also receive payments tied to certain development and commercial milestones, plus royalties on a per-program basis.

Allergan will be responsible for all development and commercialization efforts for all optioned candidates, subject to an Editas' option to co-develop and co-promote one or two of the drugs in the US.

Additional terms were not disclosed.

"The Allergan team is excited to work with colleagues at Editas Medicine to develop and potentially deliver game-changing treatment for retinal diseases like LCA10," David Nicholson, Allergan's chief research and development officer, said in a statement. "This program is highly complementary to our ongoing eye care development programs where unmet medical need exists for patients."

In August 2016, Editas signed a collaboration deal with Adverum Biotechnologies to develop delivery methods of genome-editing eye therapies.

Allergan has long been a leader in advancing innovative therapies to treat eye diseases,” said Editas CEO Katrine Bosley. “Working together with Allergan through their Open Science R&D model significantly enhances our ability to develop genome editing medicines to help patients with serious eye diseases.”