CRISPR Therapeutics, MGH in research, license deal

Gene-editing company CRISPR Therapeutics and Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center (MGHCC) said they entered into a two-year research collaboration and license option agreement to develop novel T cell therapies for cancer.

“As part of the collaboration, CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing will be utilized to improve upon current T cell therapies in development, ultimately addressing unmet needs in both hematologic and solid tumors,” said CRISPR Therapeutics.

Marcela Maus, Director of the Cellular Immunotherapy Program at MGHCC and Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical, will lead the scientific work at MGH.

Maus said: “We have already seen the profound benefit that T cell therapies can have for certain patients with a specific set of tumor types.

“Now the potential with gene editing, and specifically CRISPR/Cas9, exists to create improved versions of these cells that may work for a wider variety of patients with a more diverse set of tumor types.

“I’m glad to see the commitment CRISPR Therapeutics is making to this area, and am excited to collaborate with them.”

Jon Terrett, head of Immuno-Oncology Research and Translation, CRISPR Therapeutics, said: “It is becoming increasingly clear that CRISPR/Cas9 can play a major role in enabling the next generation of T cell therapies in oncology.

“By combining our gene editing capabilities with Dr. Maus’ pioneering expertise in T cell therapy, we hope to accelerate our progress toward making these therapies a reality for patients suffering from cancer.”