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Another Mammoth Sized Deal Signed by Vertex

Autumn is in full swing for those who live in leafy areas, and it appears that Vertex is too: the pharma has struck another CRISPR gene editing deal, this time with Mammoth Biosciences for $650 million in biobucks. Vertex will pay the prehistorically titled biotech and diagnostics company $41 million upfront and up to $650 million in biobucks. Mammoth’s CRISPR systems, which are around one-third the size of the popular CRISPR Cas9 enzymes, are the focus of the partnership. Another CRISPR advantage for Mammoth?

In an interview with Fierce Biotech, Peter Nell, Mammoth’s chief commercial officer and head of therapeutic strategy, claimed that the Cas14 and Cas proteins aim to eliminate immunogenicity problems because they don’t come from bacteria. According to Nell, this is Mammoth’s first therapeutic cooperation. For CRISPR-based diagnostics work, including a test for SARS-CoV-2, the business, co-founded by CRISPR pioneer and Nobel winner Jennifer Doudna, has collaborators outside of drug development.

The COVID-19 diagnostics test has not yet been granted FDA emergency use authorization. In June, Intellia and partner Regeneron demonstrated for the first time in vivo that their CRISPR gene editing candidate worked better than the standard of care therapy in patients with transthyretin amyloidosis. Vertex has made several partnerships in an attempt to ride the CRISPR wave.

In April, the corporation made a $900 million upfront payment to CRISPR Therapeutics, and in August, it agreed to a $1.2 billion deal with Arbor Biotechnologies. Arbor’s CRISPR gene-editing technology will be utilized to produce ex vivo cell therapies. At the same time, the CRISPR Therapeutics transaction will focus on a gene-editing therapeutic that came out of their original 2015 research agreement.

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