Intellia, ONK Therapeutics Enter Cancer Cell Therapy Collaboration With $920M Potential

Continuing a hot streak of early-stage dealmaking and strategic team-ups, gene editing biotech Intellia has inked a licensing and collaboration agreement with Ireland-based preclinical startup ONK Therapeutics. For $920 million, Intellia is giving its new partner nonexclusive rights to its ex vivo CRISPR/Cas9-based platform and delivery tech as well as exclusive rights to specific guide RNAs for NK cell therapies targeting various cancers.

ONK, which is fresh from a $21.5 million Series A last month, is charged with facilitating research, clinical development, and commercialization of the resulting engineered allogeneic cell therapies. For its part, Intellia could land up to $184 million per product if it meets certain development and commercial milestones. It also has the option to jump in and co-develop and co-commercialize as many as two cell therapies with lead rights in the U.S.

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The aforementioned glut of deals orchestrated by Intellia includes its 10% stake in ocular biotech SparingVision and its crucial role in the formation of a new CAR T-cell company. The Cambridge, Massachusetts-based biotech also recently shelled out $200 million to acquire Rewrite Therapeutics, a nascent gene editing startup originating from the University of California, Berkeley.