LogicBio, based in Lexington, Mass., has developed technology platforms for gene delivery and insertion to treat genetic diseases, as well as a platform designed to improve viral vector manufacturing processes.
Its core platform technology, GeneRide, differs from traditional gene therapy in that it harnesses the cell’s natural DNA repair process to embed a corrective gene directly into the patient’s chromosomes: potentially offering a benefit sustainable therapy from a single treatment.
AstraZeneca offers to buy LogicBio at a rare 660% premium, the deal worth $68 million, according to Reuters.
First acquisition for Alexion, AstraZeneca Rare Disease
Initially, LogicBio focused on pediatric patients: targeting rare liver disorders where it is “critically important” to treat patients before irreversible damage occurs. Its pipeline includes gene editing and gene therapy programs; the most advanced being in a phase 1-2 clinical trial (the LB-001 gene editing program in pediatric patients with severe methylmalonic acidemia).
Boston-headquartered Alexion says these platforms — coupled with LogicBio’s experienced team and Alexion’s own progress with AstraZeneca — will “drive future scientific possibilities and next-generation medicines” to treat rare genetic diseases.
LogicBio’s most advanced program, LB-001, is designed to non-disruptively inject a corrective copy of the methylmalonyl-CoA mutase (MMUT) gene into the albumin locus to generate therapeutic levels of expression. of MMUT in the liver throughout life.
LB-001 is based on the company’s proprietary GeneRide technology, which uses homologous recombination, a natural DNA repair process, to enable precise genome editing without the need for nucleases and exogenous promoters that have been associated to an increased risk of immune response and cancer.
Alexion was itself acquired by AstraZeneca in a mega $39 billion contract (AstraZeneca’s largest) in 2021: marking its entry into rare disease drugs and highlighting the field as a high-growth therapeutic area with rapid innovation and significant unmet medical need.
“The proposed acquisition of LogicBio is an important development for our growing research in genomic medicine,” said Marc Dunoyer, Managing Director, Alexion, AstraZeneca Rare Disease.
“LogicBio’s people, experience and platforms are delivering new scientific capabilities by adding cutting-edge technology and expertise to our genomic medicine strategy.
“Scientific collaboration between Alexion and AstraZeneca has been an important area of focus since last year’s acquisition and the addition of LogicBio will expand this fundamental work.”
Fred Chereau, President and CEO, LogicBio, added: “We are excited about the opportunity to bring our science and expertise in genetic medicine to Alexion, which shares our commitment to discovering treatments for rare diseases and improving the lives of patients.
“Through this acquisition, we are working to accelerate our research into gene editing and AAV capsid development and together advance the field of genomic medicine.”
Both boards unanimously approved the transaction, with Alexion planning to retain LogicBio employees at their current location.