The collaboration combines Moderna's mRNA platform with Life Edit's gene editing technologies, including base editing capabilities, to advance curative therapies for the most challenging genetic diseases

Moderna office in Cambridge, Massachusetts

Moderna office in Cambridge, Massachusetts, US. (Credit: Fletcher/Wikipedia)

US-based mRNA therapeutics and vaccines developer Moderna has entered into a research and development collaboration with Life Edit Therapeutics to discover and develop in-vivo mRNA gene editing therapies.

Life Edit Therapeutics is a subsidiary of cell and gene therapies company ElevateBio, focused on next-generation gene editing technologies and therapeutics.

The partnership combines Life Edit’s gene editing technologies with Moderna’s mRNA platform to develop curative therapies for challenging genetic diseases.

Life Edit’s gene editing platform offers an extensive, and diverse library of base editors and RNA-guided nucleases (RGNs), which are smaller in size than conventional nucleases.

Under the terms of the agreement, Moderna will fund the research and preclinical studies as part of the collaboration.

It will also assume responsibility for further development, manufacturing, and commercialisation, upon exercising an option for a target.

Life Edit will receive an upfront payment and is eligible to receive potential milestone payments, in addition to tired royalties on sales of products from the collaboration.

Life Edit Therapeutics chief executive officer and ElevateBio R&D president Mitchell Finer said: “This collaboration between Life Edit and Moderna demonstrates the strength of our respective technologies to advance programmable medicines to more specifically target disease.

“Our novel editing systems have the potential to precisely modify gene targets for both in vivo and ex vivo therapeutic development. We are excited that partners, such as Moderna, are recognizing the potential of our technology.”

Moderna Genomics general manager and chief scientific officer Eric Huang said: “Through our collaboration with Life Edit, we hope to harness the power of gene editing technologies as part of our broader research and development engine, helping to advance our mission and deliver on the promise of mRNA.”

In a separate development, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted Breakthrough Therapy Designation for Moderna’s investigational mRNA cancer vaccine, mRNA-4157/V940, in combination with Merck’s anti-PD-1 therapy, Keytruda.

The combination is indicated for the adjuvant treatment of patients with high-risk melanoma following complete resection.

The US FDA granted the Breakthrough Designation based on positive data from the Phase 2b KEYNOTE-942/mRNA-4157-P201 trial.