Scribe Therapeutics and Sanofi have signed a strategic partnership to expedite the development of breakthrough clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR)-based cell therapies for cancer.

The alliance will leverage the CRISPR genome editing technologies of Scribe to facilitate in genetic modification of new natural killer (NK) cell therapeutics for cancer.

According to the deal, Sanofi will make an upfront payment of $25m to Scribe.

Scribe is also entitled to receive potential payments worth over $1bn on meeting development and commercial milestones.

Sanofi will also make tiered royalty payments on net sales of products resulting from the collaboration in the future. 

Under the agreement, Sanofi will receive non-exclusive rights to Scribe’s CRISPR by Design platform of wholly-owned enzymes for developing ex vivo NK cell therapies. 

Scribe’s CasX-Editors (XE), a suite of custom engineering genome editing and delivery tools based on new foundations such as the CasX enzyme, will back Sanofi’s developing NK cell therapies pipeline for cancer.

Sanofi Research global head and chief scientific officer Frank Nestle said: “At Sanofi, we are pushing the boundaries of science by developing a diverse range of next-generation therapies based on natural killer (NK) cells, which could have broad applications across solid tumours and blood cancers. 

“This collaboration with Scribe complements our robust research efforts across the NK cell therapy spectrum and offers our scientists unique access to engineered CRISPR-based technologies as they strive to deliver off-the-shelf NK cell therapies and novel combination approaches that improve upon the first generation of cell therapies.”

In August, the company signed a strategic and exclusive research collaboration with Atomwise to use the latter’s AtomNet platform for discovering and researching up to five drug targets computationally.

Cell & Gene Therapy coverage on Pharmaceutical Technology is supported by Cytiva.

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