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EdiGene, Peking University Cancer Hospital Partner on Colorectal Cancer Precision Oncology Research

NEW YORK – EdiGene said Wednesday that it is teaming up with Peking University Cancer Hospital in China to study the role gene mutations play in driving advanced colorectal cancer and sensitizing tumors to targeted treatments. 

The partners aim to produce data that can advance biomarker-informed precision oncology drugs for colorectal cancer patients in China. 

"The gene mutation spectrum of advanced colorectal cancer is complicated, and targeted therapies need to be precisely applied to appropriate patient populations," said Lin Shen, VP of Peking University Cancer Hospital and director of the gastrointestinal oncology department. "By leveraging EdiGene's systematic research on related genes responding to specific targeted therapy for advanced colorectal cancer, and our extensive research and practical experience, we will support the development of innovative therapies for patients with advanced colorectal cancer." 

EdiGene has identified 1,300 genes that have high mutation rates and are correlated with response to targeted therapies, according to CEO Dong Wei. The Beijing-based biotech is developing ex vivo and in vivo cell-based therapies using multiple gene-editing technology platforms. 

Its oncology programs include a preclinical universal CAR T-cell therapy, an in vivo RNA base-editing product, and a high-throughput genome-editing discovery screening program. The company's screening approach combines proprietary barcoded guide RNAs with a method for a CRISPR-based pooled screening and next-generation sequencing analysis. According to EdiGene, this screening platform identifies functional amino acids and regions in a target protein useful for designing drug compounds. 

EdiGene was founded in 2015 by Wensheng Wei of Peking University. Last year, it expanded to the US by opening a 14,000-square-foot R&D center in Cambridge, Massachusetts. EdiGene has established a number of previous collaborations around its in vivo and ex vivo gene-editing cell-based therapeutic programs, but this is the first time it has announced a collaboration focused on precision oncology drug discovery and development.