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Myeloid Therapeutics, Prime Medicine Partner on Gene Editing Technology

NEW YORK — Myeloid Therapeutics said on Thursday that it has signed an agreement with gene editing startup Prime Medicine to advance Myeloid's RNA-based, retrotransposon-mediated gene insertion technology, RetroT, for therapeutic applications.

The deal includes an exclusive option for Prime to license the technology in exchange for an upfront $45 million payment to Myeloid.

Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Prime, which launched last year with $315 million in financing, is developing a prime editing technology designed to replace disease-causing mutations within the genome without causing the double-strand breaks associated with CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing.

Myeloid's RetroT technology involves the delivery of genetic sequences and integration enzymes in a single mRNA strand.

Under the terms of the companies' deal, Prime will work with Myeloid to optimize the technology for use in multiple cell types, increase its efficiency, and expand its programmability so that it can be directed to prespecified target sites within the genome. The work, Myeloid said, may enable the delivery of gene-sized pieces of DNA into the genome to correct disease-causing genetic errors that cannot be targeted with existing gene editing technologies.

In addition to the $45 million payment, Myeloid also stands to receive milestone and option exercise payments, as well as sales-based royalties. Further terms were not disclosed.

"We are committed to expanding our gene editing toolbox with new, uniquely positioned approaches that may complement Prime Editing," Prime CEO Keith Gottesdiener said in a statement. "We look forward to partnering with the extremely talented team at Myeloid, including many experts in retrotransposon biology, to advance this novel technology with the goal of expanding the applicability of Prime Editing to more broadly address human diseases."