The firms will pursue three research programs combining Editas' genome editing technologies, including CRISPR/Cas9, with Juno's immunotherapies.
"Editas' disruptive genome editing technology may unlock the ability of CAR T and TCR technologies to address a much wider range of cancers," Juno CEO Hans Bishop said in a statement. He added that the firm was encouraged by the clinical results seen so far with its T cell products.
Under the terms of the agreement, Juno will pay Editas an upfront payment of $25 million and up to $22 million in research support over the next five years across the three programs. Editas is also eligible to receive future research, regulatory, and commercial sales milestones in excess of $230 million for each program. Following the approval of any products resulting from the alliance, Editas is also eligible to receive tiered royalties.
Juno is the latest therapeutics firm to enter the CAR T cell arena. Pfizer, Novartis, and Janssen have all established relationships with genome editing firms, such as Cellectis and Intellia Therapeutics, to drive development of their CAR T cell programs.
Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Editas has secured licenses to intellectual property rights for CRISPR/Cas9 and transcription activator-like effector nucleases (TALENs) from Massachusetts General Hospital, Duke University, Harvard University, and the Broad Institute.