Novo Nordisk and Life Edit Therapeutics, Inc., an ElevateBio company focused on next-generation gene editing technologies and therapeutics, today announced a research and development collaboration to discover and develop gene editing therapies against a select set of therapeutic targets.
With a focus on advancing base editing capabilities, Novo Nordisk will leverage Life Edit’s suite of gene editing technologies to precisely edit the genome with the aim of developing life-changing therapies for rare genetic disorders as well as more prevalent cardiometabolic diseases.
“At Novo Nordisk, we are committed to continuously building and leveraging technology platforms that open up new opportunities across our therapeutic areas to deliver potentially curative treatment options to people living with serious chronic diseases,” said Marcus Schindler, PhD, professor, executive vice president and chief scientific officer of Novo Nordisk. “We are excited about the opportunity to co-create novel treatments for multiple genetic diseases based on Life Edit’s gene editing technologies.”
Base editing is a method of gene editing that converts one nucleotide base (a structural component of DNA) into another without cutting both strands of DNA. This is achieved by coupling an enzyme known as a nuclease, modified to cut only one DNA strand, to another enzyme known as a deaminase that edits the target nucleotide base. This precision is intended to reduce the risk of off-target effects and makes base editing a potentially effective approach for correcting genetic mutations associated with diseases.
The collaboration between the two companies allows for development of up to seven programmes. Under the agreement, Life Edit will receive an upfront cash payment and is eligible to receive potential development, regulatory, and commercial milestones of 335 million US dollars for each of the first two development programmes under the collaboration and up to 250 million dollars for each of the following five development programmes under the collaboration. Novo Nordisk will be responsible for all research and development costs and Life Edit is also eligible to receive tiered royalties on future net sales of therapeutic products. In addition, Life Edit has an option to a global profit share on one programme.
Moreover, Novo Nordisk will make an equity investment in ElevateBio, Life Edit’s parent company, as part of ElevateBio’s 401 million US dollars Series D financing.
“The advancements we’ve made to our next-generation gene editing platform and base editing capabilities are opening the next frontier of treating disease through DNA editing,” said Mitchell Finer, Ph.D., chief executive officer, Life Edit Therapeutics and President, R&D, ElevateBio. “Combining our Life Edit platform and the ability to make any edit anywhere with Novo Nordisk’s deep disease biology and engineering expertise will bring us closer to delivering potentially curative therapies for some of the world’s most challenging genetic diseases.”
Life Edit is part of ElevateBio’s integrated ecosystem of R&D platform technologies and end-to-end process development and cGMP manufacturing capabilities built to power the creation of life-transforming cell and gene therapies.
This article was first published on 24 May by Novo Nordisk