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Moderna inks R&D agreements with Vertex and Chiesi

Biotech agrees to separate deals for the development of gene-editing and mRNA therapies

Moderna has agreed to separate deals with Vertex and Chiesi for research and development spanning cystic fibrosis (CF) therapies and pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH).

In its agreement with Vertex, Moderna will receive $75m to collaborate on the research and development into gene therapies for CF. As part of the deal, Moderna will discover and develop lipid nanoparticles (LNPs) and mRNAs for the delivery of gene-editing therapies for the treatment of CF.

Under the terms of the deal, Moderna will receive $75m upfront to conduct research activities to discover and develop LNPs for gene-editing CF therapies. The US-based biotech company will also be eligible to receive up to $380m in further development, regulatory and commercial milestone payments, as well as tiered royalties on any products that come out of the collaboration.

While Moderna will be responsible for the initial discovery and manufacturing of LNPs and mRNA constructs for the gene-editing treatments, Vertex will be responsible for providing other components of the therapies to be formulated into LNPs, as well as the preclinical and clinical development and commercialisation efforts of any potential candidates.

This is the second agreement reached between Moderna and Vertex, with the previous collaboration aimed at the discovery and development of mRNA therapeutics for CF having been recently extended.

“Our first collaboration with Vertex to deliver mRNA coding for cystic fibrosis protein in lung cells is advancing well and this second collaboration aims at using Moderna’s technologies to explore the use of gene editing in lung cells,” said Stéphane Bancel, chief executive officer of Moderna.

Prior to announcing the Vertex deal, Moderna revealed that it had come to a separate agreement with Italian-domiciled pharma company Chiesi, for the development of mRNA treatments for PAH.

As part of that deal, Moderna will receive $25m upfront as well as a potential $400m in milestone payments to conduct research and development activities in this therapy area.

PAH is a rare and progressive disorder, which occurs when arteries in the lungs constrict, which forces the heart to work harder, often causing heart failure. The condition affects around two to five million adults across the globe, and remains an area of high unmet medical need.

Article by
Lucy Parsons

17th September 2020

From: Research



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