Animal health firm Genus to fund gene editing programme

Genus highlighted the potential benefits of the research programme but the market focused on who is paying for it (Genus).

Pigs. Genus specialises in improving the health and reproductive capabilities of livestock
Among the first targets of the programme will be the well-being of pigs

Animal genetics specialist Genus PLC (LON:GNS) is to collaborate with gene editing technology firm Caribou Biosciences.

The multi-year strategic collaboration will see Genus received an exclusive global licence for Caribou's CRISPR-Cas0 gene editing platform for use on certain livestock species.

Caribou's CRISPR-Cas9 technology accurately targets and cuts DNA to produce precise and controllable changes to the genome, Genus said.

The partnership further strengthens Genus's leadership in applying gene editing technology to improve animal health and well-being, it added.  

For Caribou's part, it will provide the company with opportunities within the animal genetics space and gives it a chance to get its foot in the door when it comes to applying its technology to help improve the welfare of food-producing animals.

Caribou and Genus will collaborate during a four-year research programmed, funded by Genus, which may be extended for an additional three years.

Among the first targets of the programme will be the further development and optimisation of Genus's Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome Virus (PRRSv) resistant pigs, the discovery of which was announced by Genus in December 2015.

“Caribou's CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing platform and its unique skills are significant to Genus as they provide the capabilities necessary to achieve the next stage of our PRRSv and other gene editing pipeline programmes. This relationship will enable new and exciting research opportunities that will strengthen and accelerate Genus's gene editing capabilities,” said Dr Jonathan Lightner, chief scientific officer and head of research & development at Genus.

The potential benefits of the collaboration may be all that Dr Lightner claims, but the market was more focused on the fact Genus would be stumping up the money for the research programme and marked the shares down 45p to 1,525p.  

Quick facts: Genus

Price: £25.32

Market: LSE
Market Cap: £1.65 billion

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