RARE Daily

Editas and Vertex Enter Into Non-Exclusive License Agreement For Cas9

December 13, 2023

Rare Daily Staff

Editas Medicine has granted Vertex a non-exclusive license for Editas Medicine’s Cas9 gene editing technology for ex vivo gene editing medicines targeting the BCL11A gene in the fields of sickle cell disease and beta thalassemia, including Vertex’s recently approved Casgevy.

Editas Medicine is the exclusive licensee of certain CRISPR patent estates for making human medicines. These include a Cas9 patent estate owned and co-owned by Harvard University, Broad Institute, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and The Rockefeller University.

Sickle cell disease and beta thalassemia are serious hematologic diseases with unmet medical needs. The Cas9 gene editing technology provides access to a broad range of genetic mutations, delivering a precise and targeted approach to gene editing medicines.

In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Editas said it is entitled to a $50 million upfront cash payment and is eligible to receive an additional $50 million contingent upfront payment. The company is also eligible to receive annual license fees, ranging from $10 million to $40 million annually, inclusive of certain sales-based annual license fee increases, through 2034.

Editas will be required to pay The Broad Institute and the President and Fellows of Harvard College a mid-double-digit percentage of amounts received from Vertex under the license agreement as it relates to Cas9 technology licensed by the company from Broad and Harvard.

Editas expects that its existing cash, cash equivalents and marketable securities, together with the upfront payment, near-term annual license fees and the contingent upfront payment, will enable it to fund its operating expenses and capital expenditure requirements into 2026.

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