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Intellia Therapeutics Highlights Expected 2020 Milestones

Intellia Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ:NTLA), a leading genome editing company focused on the development of curative therapeutics using CRISPR/Cas9 technology both in vivo and ex vivo, today provided an update on recent

Benzinga · 01/09/2020 12:33

Intellia Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ:NTLA), a leading genome editing company focused on the development of curative therapeutics using CRISPR/Cas9 technology both in vivo and ex vivo, today provided an update on recent progress and the Company’s 2020 priorities and expected milestones.

“2020 will be a significant year for Intellia, as we execute on our full-spectrum strategy. With milestones anticipated across our pipeline, we are making important progress towards the development of curative treatments for severe diseases. In particular, we expect to dose ATTR patients with the first-ever systemically delivered CRISPR/Cas9-based therapy this year, and we are beginning IND-enabling activities for our newly announced development candidate, NTLA-5001, a WT1-TCR-directed engineered cell therapy, for treatment of AML,” said Intellia President and Chief Executive Officer, John Leonard, M.D. “We are focused on developing a robust platform with modular genome editing capabilities that enable a fast and reproducible path to development. Today’s update reflects this strategy, and it also features the announcement of our third development program, an in vivo knockout approach for HAE. Importantly, this program leverages the infrastructure and insights from NTLA-2001 and underscores our ability to produce a rapid succession of new clinical candidates. We are excited by the strong momentum across our diverse pipeline and look forward to providing updates on our development programs in the upcoming year.” 

Program Updates and Anticipated 2020 Milestones:

ATTR Program: Intellia remains on track to submit an investigational new drug (IND) application in mid-2020 for its lead in vivo candidate, NTLA-2001, for treatment of transthyretin amyloidosis (ATTR). NTLA-2001 is anticipated to be the first systemically delivered CRISPR/Cas9 therapy to enter the clinic, and Intellia anticipates dosing the first patients in the second half of 2020. In addition, Intellia completed a 12-month durability study of its lead lipid nanoparticle (LNP) formulation in support of NTLA-2001, maintaining an average reduction of >95% of serum transthyretin (TTR) protein and sustained liver genome editing after a single dose in non-human primates (NHPs). NTLA-2001 is part of a co-development/co-promotion (Co/Co) agreement between Intellia, which is the lead development and commercialization party, and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Regeneron). Intellia and Regeneron have a 75% and 25% share of worldwide development costs and profits, respectively. 
 
AML Program: Intellia today announced NTLA-5001 as its first engineered T cell therapy development candidate, utilizing its T cell receptor (TCR)-directed approach to target the Wilms’ Tumor 1 (WT1) intracellular antigen for the treatment of acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Intellia’s WT1-TCR-directed approach aims to develop a broadly applicable treatment for AML patients, regardless of mutational background of a patient’s leukemia. This approach employs CRISPR/Cas9 to efficiently knock out and replace the endogenous TCR with a natural, high affinity therapeutic TCR. The resulting cells are capable of specific and potent killing of AML blasts, and have no detectable bone marrow cell toxicity. The Company expects to present preclinical data in support of NTLA-5001 at an upcoming scientific meeting in the first quarter of 2020 and plans to submit an IND application in the first half of 2021. Additional efforts are underway to evaluate the potential use of the WT1-TCR construct to treat other tumor types, including solid tumors. 
 
HAE Program: Today, Intellia announced that the Company is committed to developing a CRISPR/Cas9-based therapy for hereditary angioedema (HAE) as its third development program. HAE is a rare genetic disorder characterized by recurring and unpredictable severe swelling attacks in various parts of the body, and is significantly debilitating or even fatal in certain cases. The disease is caused by increased levels of bradykinin, a protein which leads to swelling. Most patients with HAE have a C1 esterase inhibitor (C1-INH) protein deficiency, which normally prevents the unregulated release and buildup of bradykinin. Using its modular LNP-based CRISPR/Cas9 delivery system, Intellia aims to knock out the kallikrein B1 (KLKB1) gene, which is part of a biological pathway that results in release of bradykinin. Knocking out this gene should reduce the undesired bradykinin activity in HAE patients. The Company plans to present preclinical data at an upcoming scientific meeting in the first quarter of 2020. In addition, Intellia is evaluating several potential guide RNAs and expects to nominate a development candidate in the first half of 2020. Intellia’s KLKB1 HAE program is subject to an option by Regeneron to enter into a Co/Co agreement, in which Intellia would remain the lead party.             
Cash Position and Financial Guidance:

Intellia ended the fourth quarter of 2019 with approximately $284.5 million in cash, cash equivalents and marketable securities. Intellia expects that its cash, cash equivalents and marketable securities as of December 31, 2019 will enable the Company to fund its anticipated operating expenses and capital expenditure requirements at least through the end of 2021. This expectation excludes any strategic use of capital not currently in the Company’s base-case planning assumptions.