Intellia grabs gene-editing startup in $45M deal

Massachusetts-based biotech Intellia Therapeutics will acquire UC Berkeley startup Rewrite Therapeutics in a $45 million deal, the company announced. The acquisition will give Intellia access to Rewrite’s novel DNA writing technologies.

The deal is the latest of Intellia’s efforts to expand its gene-editing toolbox. The company’s focus on developing therapeutics using CRISPR technologies brought it knocking on Rewrite’s door, as their patented approaches allow for more specific editing strategies. 

“We could not be more excited to add Rewrite’s additional capabilities to our growing platform, offering us new possibilities and the potential to target diseases beyond those currently being explored in our pipeline,” said John Leonar, president and CEO of Intellia.

Rewrite was founded in 2016 by Shakked Halperin and David Schaffer, who developed the first CRISPR-guided DNA polymerization technology that can target specific changes in genomes without making double stranded breaks. Halperin serves as the president and CEO and was responsible for inventing Rewrite’s gene-editing platform and Schaffer is a professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering at the University of California, Berkeley, where he serves as director of the Berkeley Stem Cell Center. Rewrite is backed by venture capital firms, Civilization Ventures and Prefix Capital.

Halperin expressed his excitement for the transition and the potential to harness the full power of the treatment using Intellia’s resources.