CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing pioneer secures licence

Lighthouse | 7 May 2020

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  • MaxCyte has entered into a clinical and commercial licence agreement with Caribou Biosciences, under which Caribou is able to use MaxCyte’s proprietary flow electroporation technology and ExPERT platform for its CRISPR gene-edited, allogeneic T cell therapy programmes.
  • In common with MaxCyte’s other clinical and commercial licences, this is a non-exclusive licence and financial deal terms are undisclosed. MaxCyte will, however, receive undisclosed development and approval milestone payments as well as other fees from the lease of instruments, sales of single use disposables, and sales-based payments.
  • Caribou is developing an internal pipeline of ‘off-the-shelf’ CAR-T cell therapies, other gene edited therapies, and engineered gut microbes. It also licences its CRISPR-Cas9 foundation IP in various fields. MaxCyte’s enabling technology will be applied to advancing Caribou’s lead allogenic CAR-T cell therapy programme, with Caribou securing access to a key transfection technology for both clinical and commercial use.
  • Caribou is a pioneer in CRISPR-Cas genome editing. It was spun out of the Doudna lab at the University of California, Berkeley in 2011. Its co-founders include Prof. Jennifer Doudna (who with Prof. Emmanuelle Charpentier, discovered and developed CRISPR-mediated genome editing) and CEO Rachel Haurwitz. Caribou has raised $41m to date, most recently in a $30m Series B in 2016. It also owns c4% of genome editing company Intellia Therapeutics, spun out of Caribou in 2014.
  • MaxCyte has formed several significant partnerships with many of the leading gene editing and cell therapy companies (including Kite Pharma, CRISPR Therapeutics, Editas Medicine and Allogene Therapeutics) which cover clinical and commercial use of its ExPERT flow electroporation platform. Prior to the Caribou deal, MaxCyte disclosed that it could earn >$800m in pre-commercial milestones from nine existing partnerships.

Trinity Delta view: MaxCyte is the clear leader in non-viral cell modification, and its proven flow electroporation platform is at the heart of the new generation of gene-edited and cell therapies. This deal with Caribou underlines the demand for the technology, provides important validation from a gene editing pioneer, and is indicative of a trend whereby companies are securing early access to MaxCyte’s technology ahead of clinical entry. MaxCyte’s stable of deals has the potential to transform its revenue base over the mid-term, with more frequent and less lumpy milestone receipts. MaxCyte will benefit from a portfolio effect; even with a high clinical attrition rate given the cutting-edge nature of the underlying cell and gene therapy programmes, a few successes would be transformative. MaxCyte’s £25.1m ($31m) fund raise and proposed NASDAQ list will help it in supporting its partners as their pipelines mature, as well as in striking new collaborations with fast-growing well-funded US companies. We are in the process of updating our valuation to include the fund raise; for context, our prior valuation was £195m, or 341p/share, with the core business excluding CARMA worth £111m.


7 May 2020

Market Cap£89.0m
Primary exchangeAIM London
Company Code
Corporate clientYes

Company description

MaxCyte uses its patented flow electroporation platform to transfect a wide array of cells. Revenues arise from sale and lease of equipment, disposables and licence fees; with an impressive client list. Additionally, a novel mRNA mediated CAR technology, known as CARMA, is being explored in various cancers, including solid tumours.


Lala Gregorek
+44 (0) 20 3637 5043

Franc Gregori
+44 (0) 20 3637 5041


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