Lilly’s Prevail taps Jennifer Doudna’s spinout Scribe Therapeutics for neuro genetic medicines

Scribe Therapeutics found another partner, this time with Prevail Therapeutics, a subsidiary of Eli Lilly, in a $75 million upfront deal for neuromuscular and neurological diseases.

Unlike Scribe’s ex vivo NK cell therapy partnership with Sanofi that was announced last fall, the Prevail pact is on exclusive terms for Scribe’s in vivo “CRISPR by Design” technology. Scribe also has a collaboration with Biogen on gene therapy for ALS.

Prevail will help fund research, and Scribe can co-fund and share profits on one program out of an undisclosed number of targets. The deal could balloon by another $1.5 billion-plus in biobucks and tiered royalties, the companies said Tuesday morning.

Scribe CEO and president Benjamin Oakes did not share any details about disease targets and clinical timelines. Last year, he said genome editors will have a “really big impact” on patients’ lives within five years in an interview with Endpoints News. The first CRISPR-based therapy approval is on the near horizon; Vertex and CRISPR Therapeutics submitted their sickle cell therapy candidate to the FDA last month.

Scribe, which is based in Alameda, CA, was launched by Oakes, Nobel laureate Jennifer Doudna and other CRISPR leaders at UC Berkeley. Prevail, a gene therapy biotech that Lilly bought in 2020, is already in the clinic with AAV9-based candidates for certain types of Parkinson’s, Gaucher disease and frontotemporal dementia.

Scribe’s molecules can be “delivered via pretty much every delivery technology that currently exists,” said Oakes. The biotech has explored AAV delivery — being able to do single, double and triple-cut genome editing within a single vector — and lipid nanoparticles for the past four or so years. They’re also looking at other delivery modalities and are not yet “wedded” to a particular approach as the field rapidly evolves, he said.




Scribe Therapeutics



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