BioWorld International Correspondent

PARIS - Cellectis SA has granted GlaxoSmithKline a worldwide, nonexclusive sublicense to a patent family relating to a process for the specific replacement or insertion of a gene in a receiver genome by homologous recombination.

The technology from Cellectis, of Romainville, France, is used to substitute, delete or add genetic sequences at a chosen location in a genome. It is used in particular to generate mouse models with altered genomes for the study of gene function and/or for mimicking human diseases, with the aim of identifying disease mechanisms and testing drug candidates during the discovery and development process.

The technology was invented by the Institut Pasteur, of Paris, which granted Cellectis worldwide exclusive rights to the umbrella patent family that covers the platform. Cellectis has now granted GlaxoSmithKline, of London, the right to use its technologies for in vitro and in vivo modifications and manipulations of genetic material.

Cellectis pointed out that this agreement is a direct consequence of its strategy of promoting the adoption of its technology as a worldwide standard. The financial terms and conditions of the agreement were not disclosed.

Cellectis, which describes itself as the "rational genome engineering company," is developing a range of custom DNA rewriting tools. Its technology is designed to modify the specificity of meganucleases to break DNA at a predetermined place.

Meganucleases are a proprietary genome engineering technology developed by Cellectis, which permits very accurate "editing" of genetic sequences. They consist of sequence-specific endonucleases with large recognition sites, and Cellectis noted that the high degree of specificity enables meganucleases to bind and cut at a single point in a chosen genome.

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