Moderna, Generation Bio partner to develop non-viral gene therapies

March 24, 2023

Massachusetts-based biotechs Moderna and Generation Bio announced this week that the two will be joining forces to develop non-viral genetic medicines.

The partnership will leverage Moderna’s technical and biological expertise and Generation Bio’s proprietary stealth cell-targeted lipid nanoparticle (ctLNP) delivery system. Under the terms of the agreement, Generation Bio will receive a $40 million upfront payment and a $36 million investment. Moderna will fund all collaboration work and will have the option to advance two liver and immune cell programs and has a third program that is intended for either. 

Generation Bio's non-viral platform integrates ceDNA, along with a specialized cell-targeted lipid nanoparticle delivery system known as ctLNP, and a proprietary manufacturing process called cell-free rapid enzymatic synthesis (RES) that produces ceDNA. This platform is designed to enable long-term effectiveness from a single dose, allowing for the delivery of large genetic payloads, including multiple genes, to specific tissues. Additionally, it permits dosage adjustments and extends the duration of gene expression levels in each patient. RES uses a cell-free system, involving enzymes and nucleotides mixed in a test tube to create the desired ceDNA sequence. 

As for the mRNA king, this is the second deal of the year. In February, it announced a partnership with Life Edit Therapeutics, an ElevateBio company focused on next-generation gene therapeutics. Moderna has the option to license a third program that is intended for either the liver or immune cells.