Lilly, Precision BioSciences in $555-M Genome-Editing Deal

Eli Lilly and Company and Precision BioSciences, a Durham, North Carolina-based genome-editing company, have formed a research collaboration and exclusive license agreement to develop potential therapies for genetic disorders, in a $555-million deal ($100 million upfront, a $35-million equity investment, and up to $420 million in milestones).

The collaboration will use Precision’s proprietary Arcus genome-editing platform for the research and development of potential in vivo therapies for genetic disorders, with an initial focus on Duchenne muscular dystrophy, a genetic disorder characterized by progressive muscle degeneration and weakness, and two other undisclosed gene targets.

Under the agreement, Precision will receive an upfront payment of $100 million, as well as an equity investment by Lilly of $35 million in Precision’s common stock. Precision is also eligible to receive up to $420 million in potential development and commercialization milestones per product as well as tiered royalties ranging from the mid-single digits to low-teens on product sales should Lilly successfully commercialize a therapy from the collaboration.

Precision will lead preclinical research and investigational new drug (IND)-enabling activities, with Lilly then assuming responsibility for clinical development and commercialization. Lilly will have the right to select up to three additional gene targets for this collaboration. Precision can co-fund clinical development of one product in exchange for an increased royalty rate on co-funded product sales.

Arcus is Precision’s genome-editing platform that has several key attributes, including specificity, ability to make a variety of efficient edits (knock-in, knock-out, and repair), and small size. The platform is derived from a natural genome-editing enzyme called I-CreI, a homing endonuclease that can be optimized to control for potency and specificity.

This transaction is subject to clearance under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act and other customary closing conditions.

Source: Eli Lilly and Company and Precision BioSciences

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