CRISPR/Cas firm Intellia Therapeutics, Inc. and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc. announced a $125 million licensing and collaborative deal on April 11. Intellia also took this opportunity to file a matching initial public offering (IPO).
The agreement between the two companies centers on enhancing CRISPR/Cas, a technology that can cut through DNA in exact locations, allowing scientists to repair, kill or introduce specific genetic sequences for the treatment of various diseases. Aside from that, both firms are looking at developing and commercializing new treatments.
For its IPO announcement, Intellia is yet to reveal how many shares it will offer and at what price bracket. All the company said is that it will use the money to implement projects for the development of the CRISPR/Cas technology.
Contract With Regeneron
The deal between the two companies states that Regeneron will have the exclusive rights to discover and enhance products derived from CRISPR within a period of six years.
Regeneron can develop up to 10 targets that are mainly focused on treatments for a wide array of diseases that may be addressed through gene editing in the liver.
Regeneron may also choose a maximum of five non-liver targets. However, non-liver targets that are part of current and planned research, as well as those entailed in other Intellia partnerships, are excluded.
Regeneron will pay an upfront payment of $75 million. Intellia may receive additional profits depending on breakthrough products that Regeneron can develop based on the CRISPR/Cas technology. Regeneron has also consented to invest up to about $50 million for Intellia's upcoming equity financing.
Together, Intellia and Regeneron will work to develop and commercialize a specific number of targets produced during the deal. For starters, the companies are planning to make transthyretin amyloidosis or accumulation of abnormal proteins in the body as their first target.
"We are excited to be partnering with Regeneron, an industry leader in human genetics research," says Intellia founder and CEO Nessan Bermingham.
Regeneron Chief Scientific Officer Dr. George D. Yancopoulos says his company is already determining vital genetic targets, banking on long-term expertise in genetic engineering. He and his colleagues believe that combining these features with Intellia may pave the way for really promising therapies for serious diseases that, since time immemorial, have been difficult to address.
The collaboration will also help widen their ability to aid patients whose conditions cannot be optimally treated by antibody-derived solutions.