Moderna hopes to build on the mRNA technology used in its Covid recordings by targeting genetic diseases

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Moderna on Wednesday announced a new partnership with Life Edit Therapeutics aimed at finding and developing treatments for rare genetic diseases and other conditions as the Massachusetts biotech expands its offerings and builds on the successes of its mRNA-Covid- 19 vaccine builds up.

Important facts

Moderna said it will combine Life Edit Therapeutics’ gene-editing tools and the mRNA technology underlying its Covid vaccine to discover and develop treatments — and potentially permanent cures — for a range of unnamed conditions and genetic diseases.

The companies will collaborate on research and preclinical studies funded by Moderna, and Moderna will take care of further development, manufacturing and commercialization should it so choose.

Life Edit Therapeutics, a privately held subsidiary of cell and gene therapy company ElevateBio, will receive an upfront cash payment and could receive milestone payments and royalties on products resulting from the collaboration.

Moderna said the partnership is in line with their goal of curing “some of the most difficult genetic diseases.”

Neither company disclosed financial details of the deal.

What to look out for

Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccines are the company’s only product on the market. Though the company is hugely successful and still expected to rake in billions, it’s pushing hard to expand its offering. It’s bought and done deals with other biotechs, developed cancer vaccines, and has a pipeline of other mRNA vaccines and treatments — including influenza, RSV, HIV, Zika and cystic fibrosis — in the works.

What we don’t know

It’s not clear what diseases or conditions Moderna and Life Edit intend to target, although the announcement states that they are working to “advance potentially life-changing or curative therapies for some of the most difficult genetic diseases.” ElevateBio’s CEO, David Hallal, told Fierce Biotech that both companies “are aware of what we’re going to focus on” and are ready to hit the ground running. “For competitive reasons, it makes a lot of sense for us not to disclose all the exciting areas we’re working on together,” Hallal said.

Big number

$18.4 billion. This is how much Moderna has sold in 2022 with its Covid-19 vaccine. The number is similar to the amount generated from the vaccine the year before. However, sales are expected to collapse in 2023, and the company is projecting sales of around $5 billion.

Further reading

Pfizer hopes for record pipeline to recover from post-Covid hangover (FT)

Cancer vaccine trials – using the same mRNA technology behind Covid shots – could start in the UK this September (Forbes)

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