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Pfizer, Beam Therapeutics ink research collaboration to advance novel in vivo base editing programmes for a range of rare diseases

New York
Wednesday, January 12, 2022, 10:00 Hrs  [IST]

Pfizer Inc. and Beam Therapeutics Inc., a biotechnology company developing precision genetic medicines through base editing, announced an exclusive four-year research collaboration focused on in vivo base editing programmes for three targets for rare genetic diseases of the liver, muscle and central nervous system.

The base editing programs to be evaluated as part of the collaboration will leverage Beam’s proprietary in vivo delivery technologies, which use messenger RNA (mRNA) and lipid nanoparticles (LNP) to deliver base editors to target organs. Combining these technologies with Pfizer’s proven experience in developing and manufacturing medicines and vaccines, this collaboration seeks to advance potentially transformative therapies for patients living with rare diseases.

Beam’s proprietary base editing technologies are designed to enable a new class of precision genetic medicines that target a single base in the genome without making a double-stranded break in the DNA. This approach aims to create a more precise and efficient edit compared to traditional gene editing methods, which operate by creating targeted double-stranded breaks in the DNA, resulting in potential challenges associated with unwanted DNA modifications.

“At Pfizer, we believe in the powerful potential of mRNA and LNP technologies to address the greatest unmet needs for patients, as evidenced by the beneficial impact our mRNA/LNP-based Covid-19 vaccine is having on the pandemic,” said Mikael Dolsten, M.D., Ph.D., chief scientific officer and president, worldwide research, development and medical of Pfizer. “We have a strong history in developing gene replacement therapies for rare diseases, and we see this collaboration with Beam as an opportunity to advance the next generation of gene editing therapies – an exciting scientific frontier – potentially leading to transformation for people living with rare genetic diseases.”

“We are thrilled to partner with Pfizer, a global leader in the design, development, and commercialization of novel medicines,” said John Evans, chief executive officer of Beam. “Our leading platform for precision genetic medicine has greatly evolved over the last few years, and we are committed to ensuring the broadest reach of these potentially life-changing technologies. This collaboration will provide a unique opportunity to create potentially transformative base editing programs for indications with critical unmet needs, leveraging our proprietary base editing technology and expanding delivery capabilities. We look forward to working together with Pfizer to advance these technologies and potentially expand our impact for people suffering from serious diseases.”

Under the terms of the collaboration agreement, Beam will conduct all research activities through development candidate selection for three undisclosed targets, which are not included in Beam’s existing programs. Pfizer may opt in to exclusive, worldwide licenses to each development candidate, after which it will be responsible for all development activities, as well as potential regulatory approvals and commercialization, for each such candidate. Beam has a right to opt in, at the end of phase 1/2 studies, upon the payment of an option exercise fee, to a global co-development and co-commercialization agreement with respect to one program licensed under the collaboration pursuant to which Pfizer and Beam would share net profits as well as development and commercialization costs in a 65%/35% ratio (Pfizer/Beam).

Beam will receive an upfront payment of $300 million and, assuming Pfizer exercises its opt-in license rights for all three targets, is eligible for development, regulatory and commercial milestone payments for potential total deal consideration of up to $1.35 billion. Beam is also eligible to receive royalties on global net sales for each licensed programme. The collaboration has an initial term of four years and may be extended up to one additional year.

 

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