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Under the agreement, Allergan will receive exclusive access to five of Editas’ ocular programs.
Allergan will now be joining the CRISPR (clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats) space, the company announced on March 14, 2016, and will do so through a partnership with Editas Medicine, a genome editing biotechnology firm that is likely to be on the favorable side of the recent CRISPR patent ruling.
Under terms of the agreement, Allergan will gain exclusive access to five of Editas’ ocular programs with the option to license later on. Allergan will be able to use both the CRISPR/Cas9 and CRISPR/Cpf1 gene editing platforms through Allergan’s Open Science R&D model to look for treatments for various eye diseases, including Leber Congenital Amaurosis, a retinal degenerative disease that results in blindness.
In return, Editas will receive an upfront payment of $90 million and will be eligible for milestone payments. Although Allergan will be responsible for the development and commercialization of the resulting therapies, Editas will have the option to co-develop and co-promote two of the five therapies that result from the partnership.