Allergan, Editas partner on CRISPR tech in eye diseases

Allergan and gene editing biotech Editas have penned an upfront $90 million CRISPR research pact that will focus on ocular disorders.

Under the deal, Allergan gets exclusive access and the option to license up to five of Editas’ genome-editing eye disease programs, including its lead program for Leber Congenital Amaurosis (LCA10), which is currently preclinical.

The condition, which is very rare, affects the light-receiving cells of the retina in children, and is currently its leading med and has been slated to enter the clinic this year.

Editas gets the $90 million for the five candidates and is in line for more biobucks, not detailed in the release, for LCA10, as well as other programs.

Allergan, meanwhile, which has been racking up the deals since Pfizer dropped its failed $160 billion mega-merger that wasn’t last April, will have the option to license up to five programs under the deal, and will be responsible for developing and selling of the optioned products.

“The CRISPR genome editing platform holds the potential to transform the treatment of many genetic and non-genetically derived diseases, including diseases and conditions of the eye,” said David Nicholson, chief research and development officer at Allergan.

“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. This program is highly complementary to our ongoing eye care development programs where unmet medical need exists for patients.”

“Allergan has long been a leader in advancing innovative therapies to treat eye diseases,” added Katrine Bosley, president and CEO at Editas. 

“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. This alliance is highly aligned with our strategy to build our company for the long-term and to realize the broad potential of our genome editing platform to treat serious diseases.”