Vertex Forges Gene Therapy Collaboration With Obsidian, bluebird Stumbles in Germany

After doubling down on its gene editing collaboration with CRISPR Therapeutics, Vertex Pharmaceuticals and Obsidian Therapeutics forged a strategic partnership focused on discovering novel therapies that can regulate gene editing for the treatment of serious diseases. On April 20th, the two companies said the collaboration would leverage Cambridge, Mass.-based Obsidian’s cytoDRiVE platform to “discover gene-editing medicines whose therapeutic activity can be precisely controlled using small molecules and Vertex’s established scientific and clinical capabilities in small molecule, cell and genetic therapies to more rapidly bring these approaches to patients.” The companies did not disclose what the disease targets are in the announcement. Under terms of the deal, Vertex has the option to license worldwide rights to candidates discovered and developed through the collaboration. Vertex will pay Obsidian up to $75 million in an upfront payment. Additional milestone payments may be paid during the research term, including an equity investment in Obsidian, the companies said. In all, Obsidian is eligible to receive up to $1.3 billion in potential payments based upon the achievement of specified research, development, regulatory, and commercial milestones across up to five possible programs. 

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