Scribe's CRISPR tech Prevails in new $1.5B biobucks deal with Lilly unit

Eli Lilly’s Prevail Therapeutics is jotting down up to $1.5 billion for Scribe Therapeutics in hopes of writing some new CRISPR-based genetic medicines for neurological and neuromuscular diseases into history.

Prevail, a wholly owned Lilly subsidiary developing genetic medicines for Parkinson’s disease and other neurodegenerative conditions, will also give California-based Scribe $75 million in an upfront payment and equity investment. Additionally, Prevail will provide R&D funding and pay Scribe certain royalties on future sales, offering the biotech more than $1.5 billion in milestone payments tied to the collaboration.

In return, Prevail gets exclusive rights to Scribe’s CRISPR X-Editing (XE) technologies to develop new in vivo therapies for certain targets known to cause serious neurological and neuromuscular diseases. Scribe will also have the chance to co-fund one program and share the profits for it in the U.S.

The molecular engineering company was co-founded by Nobel Prize winner Jennifer Doudna, Ph.D., and is led by fellow co-founder Benjamin Oakes, Ph.D. Scribe’s platform aims to use holistic engineering to transform bacterial immune systems into genetic medicines that can target specific patient needs. The platform includes XE tech—or genome editing designed to directly modify genes in the body—that is made to improve the safety, efficacy and delivery of current gene editing methods. 

Since emerging in 2017, Scribe has racked up several Big Pharma partners, including a Sanofi pact potentially worth up to $1 billion and multiple deals with Biogen.