Pharma Focus Asia

CRISPR Therapeutics and KSQ Therapeutics Announce License Agreement to Advance Companies’ Respective Cell Therapy Programs in Oncology

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

CRISPR Therapeutics, a biopharmaceutical company focused on creating transformative gene-based medicines for serious diseases, and KSQ Therapeutics, a biotechnology company using CRISPR technology to enable the company’s powerful drug discovery engine to achieve higher probabilities of success in drug development, today announced a license agreement whereby CRISPR Therapeutics will gain access to KSQ intellectual property (IP) for editing certain novel gene targets in its allogeneic oncology cell therapy programs, and KSQ will gain access to CRISPR Therapeutics’ IP for editing novel gene targets identified by KSQ as part of its current and future eTILTM (engineered tumor infiltrating lymphocyte) cell programs. The financial terms of the agreement are not being disclosed.

“We are thrilled to gain access to CRISPR Therapeutics’ foundational IP estate through this agreement,” said David Meeker, M.D., Chief Executive Officer at KSQ Therapeutics. “Our eTILTM programs involve editing gene targets in human TILs that were discovered at KSQ by applying our proprietary CRISPRomics® approach to immune cells in multiple in vivo models. This agreement clears an important path for us to be able to bring these programs through development and commercialization, leveraging CRISPR Therapeutics’ proprietary editing technology.”

The gene targets within the scope of the license agreement were identified using KSQ’s proprietary CRISPRomics® drug discovery engine, which allows genome-scale, in vivo validated, unbiased drug discovery. These specific targets were uncovered in screens to identify genetic edits that could enhance the functionality and quality of adoptive cell therapies in oncology.

“KSQ has built an industry-leading platform to screen for novel gene targets using its technology, and has identified a group of targets that could help unlock the full potential of adoptive cell therapy in oncology,” said Samarth Kulkarni, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer at CRISPR Therapeutics. “As a result of this license agreement, CRISPR Therapeutics will have the opportunity to bring these novel targets into our leading allogeneic CAR-T development platform to further strengthen our future programs in this important therapeutic area.”

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