Technical University (TU) Dresden (Germany) announced today that they have entered a research collaboration and license agreement with Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc., one of the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson, under which they will develop novel therapies by using TU Dresden’s next-generation gene editing technology platform based on site-specific DNA recombinases. The collaboration was facilitated by Johnson & Johnson Innovation.
Several gene editing tools have emerged recently, enabling researchers to modify mammalian genomes in a targeted manner. Scientists led by Professor Frank Buchholz at Technical University Dresden (TU Dresden) have developed a new, next-generation gene editing platform based on engineered, site-specific DNA recombinases that allow for nuclease-free editing of genomic regions with single-base precision. The technology is uniquely versatile as it can perform several genome modifications such as excision of both short and long DNA fragments, gene inversion, and efficient gene insertion. Notably, gene insertion can be performed with comparable efficiency in both dividing and non-dividing cells because recombinases, in contrast to nuclease-based gene editing technologies, edit genomes independent of the host cells’ DNA repair and recombination machinery.
“Collaborating with Janssen is an important step forward in driving the development of our technology and for advancing therapeutic programs for the treatment of a variety of currently incurable diseases towards clinical trials”, said Professor Frank Buchholz, Head of Medical Systems Biology at the Medical Faculty of TU Dresden. “Our gene editing platform offers multiple therapeutic opportunities and we are very happy that we have been able to collaborate with a global company such as Janssen.”