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Affini-T, Metagenomi Ink Deal to Develop Gene-Edited Cell Therapies for Solid Cancers

NEW YORK – Affini-T Therapeutics and Metagenomi on Wednesday announced a partnership to develop ex vivo T-cell receptor (TCR) therapies for patients with solid tumors.

In the partnership, Affini-T will use its TCR discovery and synthetic biology platforms to develop the cell therapy products, while Metagenomi will use its next-generation gene-editing systems to engineer the products to target driver genes, including KRAS and p53, that are dysregulated in cancer.

Under the terms of the deal, Emeryville, California-based Metagenomi will receive tiered payments for each optioned cancer target, as well as milestone and royalty payments.

Going forward, Boston-based Affini-T will have the option to exclusively license Metagenomi's gene editing technologies for its autologous TCR T-cell therapies directed against specific tumor targets. The firm will also have the option to expand the collaboration into the allogeneic space, though those approaches would involve nonexclusive licenses. The partners will also discuss additional targets for codevelopment and co-commercialization down the line.

"By working with Metagenomi, we will gain access to powerful, novel gene editing tools to make precise and multiplex edits to immune cells, thereby optimizing the effector function of our cell-based therapeutics," Jak Knowles, Affini-T's cofounder, president, and CEO, said in a statement.