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Editas (EDIT) Moves Ahead With its Portfolio Reprioritization

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Editas Medicine, Inc. (EDIT - Free Report) entered into a definitive agreement with private biopharmaceutical company Shoreline Biosciences whereby the latter will license Editas’ proprietary SLEEK (SeLection by Essential-gene Exon Knock-in) and AsCas12a gene editing technologies. Shoreline Biosciences will acquire Editas Medicine’s preclinical gene-edited induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC)-derived natural killer cell (iNK) programs and related manufacturing technologies.

Shoreline Biosciences develops next-generation cellular immunotherapies based on iPSCs utilizing proprietary iNK and macrophage (iMACs) platforms.
Per the terms, Shoreline Biosciences will obtain an exclusive license to Editas Medicine’s interest in SLEEK gene editing knock-in technology for use in its iNK platform and for oncology in its iMACs platform, and on a non-exclusive basis for iMACs in other indications. Shoreline will also receive a non-exclusive license for the use of Editas Medicine’s engineered AsCas12a enzyme.

Editas will receive an upfront payment at the close of the transaction from Shore Biosciences. Additionally, Editas is eligible to receive future development and commercial milestone and royalty payments for each of the iNK programs and for future programs engineered with the gene editing technologies.

Shoreline Biosciences will also acquire EDIT-202, Editas Medicine’s preclinical multiplexed edited iNK cell medicine for the potential treatment of solid tumors, as well as an additional iNK program under development and certain related manufacturing technologies.

The acquisition of Editas’ wholly owned oncology assets by Shoreline Biosciences is part of Editas’ strategic portfolio reprioritization, which includes its focus on the development of in vivo gene-edited medicines.

Last week, Editas announced the reprioritization of its current portfolio of pipeline candidates and a research and development realignment wherein it will focus on hemoglobinopathies and in vivo gene editing. The company will discontinue internal investments in inherited retinal diseases and in preclinical, wholly owned iNK programs.

The stock has plunged 57% in the past year compared with the industry’s decline of 7.6%.


Zacks Investment Research
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As part of the reprioritization, Editas is looking to reduce its current headcount by 20%. The changes in the clinical development programs and the restructuring and reprioritization efforts are expected to bring a reduction in the company’s operating expenses and extend the cash runway into 2025.
Editas will now shift all its resources toward EDIT-301, which is now the company’s lead clinical program. The candidate is being developed for the treatment of severe sickle cell disease and transfusion-dependent beta thalassemia.

In the absence of an approved product in its portfolio, pipeline development remains key focus for Editas.

Zacks Rank & Other Stocks to Consider

Editas currently carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). Other top-ranked stocks in the biotech sector include Syndax Pharmaceuticals (SNDX - Free Report) , Vir Biotechnology (VIR - Free Report) and Dynavax Technologies (DVAX - Free Report) . All three sport a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Over the past 60 days, loss estimates for Syndax for 2022 have narrowed to $2.48 from $2.53. Syndax also surpassed estimates in each of the trailing four quarters, with the average surprise being 95.39%.

Over the past 90 days, earnings estimates for VIR have increased to $4.61 from $3.03 for 2022. VIR also surpassed estimates in three of the trailing four quarters, with the average surprise being 3,182.4%.

Over the past 60 days, earnings estimates for Dynavax Technologies have increased to $1.93 from $1.74 for 2022. DVAX also surpassed estimates in two of the trailing four quarters, with the average surprise being 73.15%.


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