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Precision BioSciences Signs $1.6B Deal With Baxalta

Precision BioSciences, a 2006 Duke University spin-out with a unique method to target and alter DNA, has signed a development deal with Baxalta that could bring the Research Triangle Park biotechnology company up to $1.6 billion.

Baxalta, a global pharmaceutical company based in Illinois, intends to use Precision’s technology to develop anti-cancer treatments called allogeneic chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cell therapies.

Traditional CAR T cell therapy technologies isolate cells from cancer patients’ blood and re-engineer them to specifically target receptors on tumor cells. The reprogrammed cells are multiplied in a laboratory and then returned to the patient to target the tumor.

Precision BioSciences’ proprietary ARCUS genome editing technology enables the production of CAR T cells derived from healthy donors rather than relying on the patient. This approach aims to overcome the manufacturing-related limitations with existing CAR T therapies and enable a broader range of malignancies to be targeted.

“Baxalta is an ideal partner in CAR T for Precision and our ARCUS genome editing platform because of their global reach, collaborative business model, and long-term commitment to succeeding in immuno-oncology," said Matthew Kane, CEO of Precision. “We look forward to working closely with the team at Baxalta to develop novel CAR T therapeutics that could transform the treatment of cancer.”

Precision announced in May 2015 the closing of a $25.6 million Series A financing.

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