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Bristol-Myers, Eisai collaborate to develop cancer therapies using gene editing

Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. and Japan's Eisai Co. Ltd. will collaborate to develop cancer immunotherapies using gene editing of ribonucleic acid, which plays a part in gene coding, regulation and expression.

The collaboration will use the ribonucleic acid, or RNA, splicing platform that was developed by Eisai's Cambridge, Mass.-based unit H3 Biomedicine Inc. to develop therapies for cancer.

H3 is researching the potential of the RNA splicing platform to develop potential first-in-class therapies that would direct the immune system to target cancer cells. H3 President and Chief Data Sciences Officer Lihua Yu said the collaboration will help the company better understand whether the platform can help enhance the immune system's ability to fight cancer.

Under the agreement, Bristol-Myers and H3 will jointly research the program, but the New York-based biopharmaceutical giant will be responsible for developing and commercializing selected compounds. Eisai will retain an option to co-develop and co-commercialize certain compounds emerging from the collaboration. H3 is eligible to receive an up-front fee, development, regulatory and sales milestones, as well as certain royalties.

Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.