DURHAM – Drug giant Eli Lilly, which is building a pharmaceutical production plant in the Triangle, now has another 555 million reasons to be interested in the region.
Lilly and Durham-based Precision BioSciences announced a deal involving Precision’s gene editing technology on Friday morning that could be worth as much as $555 million.
The two firms say they will coperate to research potential therapies for various genetic disorders, including Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD).
“We look forward to working with Lilly to leverage our deep understanding of in vivo gene editing and experience with [Precision’s] ARCUS to develop new therapies, including a potentially transformative treatment for Duchenne muscular dystrophy,” said Derek Jantz, chief scientific officer and co-founder of Precision BioSciences. “Collaborating with Lilly, a global healthcare leader with strong clinical and commercial experience in difficult-to-treat diseases, will help us accelerate our work aimed to solve genetic diseases with unique editing challenges.”
However there are no guarantees such big deals pan out as originally planned. For example, Precision’ two-year collaboration with Gilead Sciences to develop new therapies to cure hepatitis B ended in September.
The two firms announced a deal that could have meant as much as $445 million to Precision in September 2018.
Two other targets were not disclosed.
Precision receives $100 million up front.
Lilly also will invest $35 million in Precision stock (Nasdaq: DTIL).
Future payments up to $420 million would include milestones and royalties on developed products.
“Gene-edited therapies are emerging as a promising approach to help patients afflicted with genetic conditions,” said Ruth Gimeno, vice president of diabetes and metabolic research at Lilly, in the announcement. “We look forward to working closely with Precision’s scientific team and leveraging their platform to develop and deliver breakthrough medicines for untreated genetic disorders.”