Why it’s time to ditch the gene editing revolution
Tech giant Delphi Technologies announced Wednesday it has been acquired by one of the biggest names in gene editing technology, one that will help create more effective therapies for sickle cell anemia and other diseases.
The company has about 60 employees in San Francisco and plans to hire about 500 people as part of the transaction, said the company’s CEO, Michael Dolan.
Dolan said he hopes the acquisition will help accelerate gene editing technologies and provide a new path for people to get into this new field.
He said the new ownership group, headed by his longtime business partner, Paul Fritsche, will bring Delphi’s global expertise and expertise to help Delphi continue to build on its strong position in the biotech space and expand its reach.
The deal will add to the company is massive stock holdings that already include the rights to several technologies, including the Delphi BX8 platform for BAC-8 gene editing, the first commercial delivery of a new generation of gene editing products, and the Delphix Bio-BX7 platform for gene editing.
It also will give the company the rights for a new delivery of the Delvox gene-editing product, which it says is being tested in patients.
“We’re extremely excited to continue to work with the company,” Dolan said.
“I look forward to welcoming new employees into the company.”
Shares of Delphi rose as much as 2.2% in premarket trading, with the stock trading at $36.94.
Shares of other biotechs that have taken the leap into gene editing also rose, with biotech stock indexes including the biotech index in the Dow Jones Industrial Average rising more than 2%.
Gene editing is an increasingly popular alternative to traditional gene therapy, which has not been approved for humans and which relies on viruses to target the disease.
Gene editing can also target the gene and make it more effective at producing new copies of it, but has not yet been proven safe for humans.
The technology has been hailed as a cure-all for many diseases, but it has yet to be used in clinical trials.
The first gene-edited drugs were developed in the early 2000s by the biotech company Illumina, which is based in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
In 2009, the company was acquired by drugmaker Novartis.
But the two companies split in 2013 and Delphi has struggled to bring new products to market.
The new ownership will help Delphi develop its own products and take a lead in gene-modified foods, said Dolan, who also owns a stake in the drugmaker Biogen Idec.
Delphi’s new venture will work to advance the technology through partnerships with leading scientists and companies around the world.
The sale is a major coup for the company, which recently raised $7.5 billion from the Sequoia Capital group and has a market value of about $11 billion.
Dola said he will stay on in the role of CEO, with Dolan taking over as chief executive.
The deal includes a “significant” additional stake in Delphi, and it is expected to be completed by the end of this year, he said.
The transaction is expected give the new owners access to technology, Dolan added.
The sale of the company will give them a significant stake in its future growth.
The $4.8 billion deal was announced at a board meeting, in which Dolan thanked the new investors.
The current CEO, Robert A. Lutzenberger, has been a key investor in the company.