Home » News » Bayer and Baxalta Battle for Gene Editing Domination With Billions of Dollars at Stake

Bayer and Baxalta Battle for Gene Editing Domination - With Billions of Dollars at Stake

The announcement comes hot on the heels of a now-$335 million deal between aspirin mainstay Bayer AG and gene editing startup CRISPR Therapeutics to create commercial gene therapies to treat congenital heart disease, blindness and blood disorders.

We are very impressed by the scientific team of CRISPR Therapeutics as they have built the most promising gene-editing technology on the market, Dr. Axel Bouchon, head of the Bayer LifeScience Center, said in a press release. This is perfectly suited to fully leverage Bayer’s expertise in protein engineering and knowledge in the targeted disease areas of this [joint venture].

While the technologies CRISPR Therapeutics and Precision Bio use are different – CRISPR Therapeutics uses CRISPR/Cas9, Precision Bio has a proprietary method called Arcus that deploys what the company calls an ARC Nuclease – the modus operandi is  the same: save the world by editing its DNA.

These two aren’t even the only players. There’s also  Editas Medicine, a CRISPR/Cas9-utilizing biotech company that just went public with huge success.  Intellia Therapeutics, which aims to treat genetic diseases with CRISPR/Cas9 and CAR T-cells, among others. And there’s Cellectis, the French biopharma company that used TALEN and CAR T-cells to successfully treat leukemia in an infant last year. Those aren’t all of them, but you get the idea.

At this point, we’re right on the cusp of huge innovations in medicine, and it’s silly to think gene editing won’t play a role in how we diagnose and treat disease. What’s going to be interesting is, now that major pharmaceutical companies realize there’s money, innovation and monster kudos to be earned in pioneering gene therapies, innovations could start rolling in on a regular basis, chugging through years of medical innovation on a train made of money. This is, in the most earnest sense, the future of health.

By: Max Plenke


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