2seventy bio divests again, this time sending hemophilia and gene editing science to Novo Nordisk

Novo Nordisk has purchased 2seventy bio’s hemophilia A program along with rights to some of the biotech’s gene editing tech for autoimmune diseases in a deal worth up to $40 million.

As part of the divestiture, the 2seventy staff members currently involved with the program will also head over to Novo to work on the science, according to a company release shared June 26 after market close.

The move will allow 2seventy to focus exclusively on the development and commercialization of Bristol Myers Squibb-partnered Abecma, a CAR-T cell therapy approved to treat multiple myeloma.  

The new divestment to Novo builds off an earlier pact inked back in 2019 with 2seventy’s then-parent company bluebird bio. The focus was on the hemophilia A program, and the multiyear collaboration was expanded in 2022.

Under the terms of the new agreement, 2seventy will transfer the hemophilia A program to Novo and the prior agreement will end. The deal will also give Novo rights to 2seventy’s in vivo gene editing technology—dubbed megaTAL—outside of oncology and gene editing for cell therapies of immune cells for the treatment of autoimmune disease.

In return, Novo is offering 2seventy the chance to receive payments up to $40 million.  

“I am excited that we are expanding our genome editing technology platforms at Novo Nordisk,” Karina Thorn, Ph.D., Novo Nordisk’s corporate vice president for global nucleic acid therapies research, said in the June 26 release. “We are devoted to developing therapies with a curative outlook, including our continued development of a next-generation in vivo genome editing program aiming to offer individuals living with Hemophilia A a lifetime free of factor replacement therapy.”

This is 2seventy bio’s second divestment of the year. Back in January, the company offloaded preclinical and clinical cell therapy programs to Regeneron to form a new unit. The move involved sending 160 employees over to Regeneron, including former Chief Scientific Officer Philip Gregory and former Chief Medical Officer Steve Bernstein, M.D.

At the time, the remaining workforce was downsized to only 65 employees, with about 55 other workers laid off.  

As to Novo, the Danish company is taking control of a hemophilia program when BioMarin is having trouble with the rollout of Roctavian, the very first hemophilia A gene therapy approved by the FDA, because of reimbursement and infrastructure bottlenecks.