AstraZeneca deepens gene editing capabilities with Revvity partnership

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Medical research lab

AstraZeneca deepens gene editing capabilities with Revvity partnership

Published: May 18, 2023

By Tristan Manalac

BioSpace

AstraZeneca inked a non-exclusive licensing agreement with Revvity for access to the Massachusetts biotech’s proprietary gene editing technology to develop cell therapies for cancer and immune-mediated conditions, Revvity announced Thursday.

The deal, for an undisclosed amount, will focus on Revvity’s Pin-point base editing platform and its underlying technology, which use a modified Cas enzyme to make controlled, precise and efficient edits—to single or multiple genes simultaneously—while limiting off-target and unintended effects on a cell’s viability or other functions.

The AstraZeneca partnership will help Revvity achieve its goal for its base editing platform, which is to “translate the technology from pre-clinical research into the clinic, and ultimately, impact patient lives,” Alan Fletcher, Revvity’s senior vice president of life sciences, said in a statement.

Unlike the traditional CRISPR-based gene editing technologies that make double-stranded breaks, Revvity’s approach only cuts one strand of the DNA to correct a faulty base. Pin-point is also a completely modular technology and allows different combinations of its individual components to achieve optimal therapeutic performance depending on the specific gene target, according to the company.

Pin-point’s potential has been demonstrated in induced pluripotent stem cells and T-cells, indicating that the platform could be applied across a diverse range of cell types and therapeutic indications. Aside from base editing, Pin-point can also insert genes to enable cell-based medicines such as CAR-T therapies.

Thursday’s licensing deal will add Pin-point to AstraZeneca’s growing suite of gene editing and cell therapy technologies. The company currently has its “CRISPR toolbox,” which includes tools such as CRISPR GUARD, which uses short RNA molecules to protect off-target sites from CRISPR cuts, and CRISPR VIVO, which can determine potential off-target effects of a CRISPR system across the genome.

AstraZeneca is developing these tools in collaboration with leading research institutions all over the world.

Beyond academic partners, however, AstraZeneca is also teaming up with industry players to deepen its gene and cell therapy portfolios. Earlier this month, the company signed a preclinical research agreement with Sernova to explore potential synergistic opportunities between its own pipeline and the Canadian biotech Cell Pouch System, an implantable medical device that protects therapeutic cells.

In November 2022, AstraZeneca bought Neogene Therapeutics for $200 million upfront. The deal will give AstraZeneca access to Neogene’s T-cell receptor discovery and cell engineering platform to produce highly specific therapies against solid tumors.

A month earlier, in October 2022, AstraZeneca also acquired LogicBio Therapeutics. For a $68 million price tag, AstraZeneca gained two new technology platforms: GeneRide, a gene editing platform that leverages the cell’s natural repair processes, and sAAVy, a delivery capsid platform that boosts both potency and safety.

Source: BioSpace