BioWorld International Correspondent

PARIS - Cellectis SA and Murinus GmbH signed a nonexclusive license agreement granting Murinus rights to Cellectis' patents covering homologous recombination for the specific replacement or insertion of a gene into the mouse genome.

The deal gives Hamburg, Germany-based Murinus the right to use the technology for the production and commercialization of genetically modified mice for industry and academia in Europe and the Middle East. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Pointing out that genetically modified mice are an "invaluable tool for functional gene analysis and target validation in vivo," Murinus General Manager Michael Moormann said the agreement would enable the company to "extend our portfolio to offer the full range of genetic manipulations. We are now in a position to offer mouse gene humanization, an increasingly powerful tool for modeling receptor interactions in vivo."

Vice president, business development of Paris-based Cellectis, Isabelle Pelletier-Bressac, said it is the seventh agreement the company has concluded with a firm specialized in gene knockout/knock-in technologies involving mouse models. Cellectis was founded in 1999 as a spin-off from the Institut Pasteur in Paris and applies meganuclease recombination systems to in vivo genome engineering and genome surgery.

It is developing custom-made meganucleases for DNA interventions, as well as tools for rational reverse genetics and targeted recombination. It has developed meganucleases that can induce site-directed, double-strand breaks in a living cell and are designed for biotechnological and therapeutic applications.

Its in-house research programs are devoted to discovering and developing therapeutics for single-gene diseases such as cystic fibrosis, Duchenne's disease and familial hypercholesterolemia, as well as viral infections. The company has raised a total of €20 million in two funding rounds since 1999.