Roche's Genentech spends $15M to rocket into GenEdit’s NanoGalaxy

The next wave of gene editing advances will likely center not only on efficacy but on the diversity of where the therapies can be delivered, and Genentech is signing a new deal to keep up with the competition. 

The Roche unit is paying $15 million and offering $629 million in biobucks to use GenEdit’s polymer nanoparticle-based platform to develop gene therapies for autoimmune diseases. GenEdit’s platform, NanoGalaxy, scans through thousands of water-soluble polymers to select tissue-specific candidates that can deliver gene editing payloads. The nanoparticles it builds can range in size, charge and composition, according to the biotech. 

The deal with Genentech will center on finding polymers that can support nucleic acid-based medicines for autoimmune diseases. GenEdit’s own internal pipeline, which has so far been kept under wraps, focuses on a range of conditions targeting the nervous system. 

It’s unclear how many nanoparticles GenEdit will be supplying Genetech with. The Roche-owned unit will be responsible for all preclinical and clinical development, plus regulatory and commercial work. 

The deal is just the latest in pharma and biotech validation for GenEdit. The startup reeled in Eli Lilly as an investor in a $26 million series A back in 2021 and added Sarepta as a partner in February 2022. The muscular dystrophy drug developer gave GenEdit $57 million in near-term payments for up to four targets aimed at neuromuscular indications. 

GenEdit is led by CEO Kunwoo Lee, Ph.D., who worked in the lab of Nobel Prize-winning CRISPR scientist Jennifer Doudna, Ph.D. The startup emerged from stealth in 2018 with $8.5 million in funding from Data Collective Bio and SK Holdings, among others.