Twist's antibodies to wind up with Kriya's AAV gene therapies in new pact

Twist Bioscience will discover new antibodies that could eventually be delivered using Kriya Therapeutics' gene therapies to treat various cancers.

The pair is joining forces on a discovery agreement under which virtually no terms were disclosed. The California biotechs will engineer Twist's antibodies into Kriya's adeno-associated virus-based gene therapy platform with the eventual goal of moving the therapies through various oncology areas, the companies said Wednesday. 

Apparently, investors didn't care that the disclosure included no financials, details on timing, specifics on which indications the pair will target with the gene therapies nor the lowdown on how many targets. Twist's shares were up nearly 9% to $51.56 apiece as of 10:38 a.m. ET on Wednesday. 

Twist's antibody work got a boost in November when the biotech doled out $190 million to buy antibody discovery startup Abveris. The deal came just weeks after Twist spun out its COVID-19 antibody into a new startup, Revelar Biotherapeutics, with $10 million in seed financing. Revelar said the antibody, still in preclinical work, neutralized both the omicron and delta variants in early January. 

For its part, Kriya Therapeutics has raised $180 million since May 2020 to support its gene therapy pipeline across opthalmology, oncology and rare and chronic diseases.

The agreement comes just a day after the AAV gene therapy space hit another peak. Novartis dished out $54 million upfront, with backend potential of $1.7 billion, for Voyager Therapeutics' next-generation AAV capsids. The companies aim to improve the safety of AAV gene therapies, which have raised safety concerns at the FDA.