Moderna on Wednesday announced a new partnership with Life Edit Therapeutics geared towards finding and developing treatments for rare genetic diseases and other conditions, as the Massachusetts biotech moves to expand its offerings and build on the successes of its mRNA Covid-19 vaccine.
Moderna said it will combine Life Edit Therapeutics’ gene editing tools and the mRNA technology underpinning its Covid vaccine to discover and develop treatments—and possibly permanent cures—for a set of unnamed conditions and genetic diseases.
The companies will collaborate on research and preclinical studies, funded by Moderna, and Moderna will take charge of any further development, manufacturing and commercialization should it choose to.
Life Edit Therapeutics, a privately-owned subsidiary of cell and gene therapy company ElevateBio, will receive an upfront cash payment and could receive milestone payments and royalties from products resulting from the collaboration.
Moderna said the partnership is in line with its goal to cure “some of the most challenging genetic diseases.”
Neither company disclosed financial details of the deal.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccines is the firm’s only product on the market. Though highly successful and still expected to rake in billions, the firm is pushing hard to expand its offerings. It has been buying up and making deals with other biotech firms, developing cancer vaccines and has a pipeline of other mRNA vaccines and treatments—including for flu, RSV, HIV, Zika and cystic fibrosis—in the works.
WHAT WE DON’T KNOW
It’s not clear what diseases or conditions Moderna and Life Edit are hoping to target, though the announcement says they are working “to advance potentially life-transformative or curative therapies for some of the most challenging genetic diseases.” ElevateBio chief executive David Hallal told Fierce Biotech both companies are “well aware of what it is we’re going to focus on” and are ready to hit the ground running. “For competitive reasons, it makes a lot of sense for us to not disclose all of the exciting areas that we’re working on together,” Hallal explained.
$18.4 billion. That’s how much Moderna said sales of its Covid-19 vaccine generated in 2022. The figure is similar to the amount generated from the vaccine the year before. Sales are expected to nosedive in 2023, however, and the company expects to take around $5 billion in sales.
By Robert Hart, Forbes Staff