Intellia-ONK ink up to $920M pact for 5 CRISPR-edited cancer cell therapies

Intellia is on a deal spree. The first-in-human gene editing biotech will receive up to $920 million from ONK Therapeutics in a collaboration agreement focused on CRISPR-edited natural killer cell therapies. 

The Galway, Ireland, biotech will get nonexclusive rights to Intellia's ex vivo gene editing and delivery tech on top of exclusive rights to specific guide RNAs for up to five NK cell therapies for various cancers, the companies said Tuesday.

ONK will handle research, clinical development and commercialization of the engineered allogeneic cell therapies. In exchange, Intellia can receive up to $184 million per product through development and commercial milestones. 

Intellia can also opt in to co-develop and co-commercialize up to two cell therapies with lead rights in the U.S.

RELATED: Intellia Rewrites pipeline expansion in $200M acquisition of UC Berkeley DNA writing startup

The transatlantic tie-up brings together an established gene editing biotech and a nascent preclinical startup that just raised a $21.5 million series A last month. Intellia is betting on ONK, which is led by CEO Chris Nowers, the former head of Kite Pharma's European operations.

This latest collab follows a string of early-stage deals for Intellia, including taking a 10% stake in ocular-focused biotech SparingVision and helping form a new CAR T-cell company

Just two weeks ago, the Cambridge, Massachusetts biotech dished out up to $200 million for Rewrite Therapeutics, a relatively unknown gene editing startup spun out of the University of California, Berkeley.