Another step backwards for Editas

Progress-hungry investors who have struggled with the pace of development in the gene editing field will find little of comfort in Editas’s announcement today. Work on the group's lead project, EDIT-101 for Leber congenital amaurosis 10, is being paused while a partner is sought, a decision the company says was based on commercial viability rather than efficacy. Of the first 14 patients enrolled into the Brilliance trial only three responded, two of whom were homozygous for a mutation implicated in the rare disease, which causes blindness. Editas contends that this means that homozygosity could be used as a predictor of response and guide enrolment into any pivotal study; however, this restricts the addressable US population to a mere 300 people. Given that an earlier Brilliance readout disappointed this feels like a prudent decision, but finding a partner is going to be tough. The broader implications here are also concerning. On a call executives admitted that preclinical data did not predict that only certain genotypes would respond, while ramifications for other inherited retinal disease assets are “unclear”, Stifel analysts noted. Editas has one other project in the clinic, but this is clearly a setback. Its shares opened down 18%.

Editas's pipeline
Project Mechanism Indication  Status
EDIT-101 Crispr-associated Cas9 centrosomal protein 290 gene therapy Leber congenital amaurosis 10 Ph1/2 Brilliance trial paused, Nov 2022
EDIT-301 Crispr-associated Cas12 haemoglobin beta gene therapy Sickle cell disease Ph1/2 Ruby trial to report interim data Dec 2022
Transfusion-dependent beta-thalassemia Ph1/2 Edithal trial ongoing
EDIT-103 Crispr-associated Cas9 gene therapy Retinitis pigmentosa Preclinical
EDIT-102 Usherin gene transference Usher syndrome 2A Preclinical
EDIT-202 Natural killer cell therapy Solid tumors Preclinical
Source: Evaluate Pharma, company website. 

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