CAMBRIDGE, Mass., September 6th, 2023 — Eterna Therapeutics Inc. (Nasdaq: ERNA) (“Eterna” or the “Company”), a life science company committed to realizing the potential of mRNA cell engineering to provide patients with transformational new medicines, today announced the initiation of certain development activities to generate a novel hypoimmune induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) line under its option and license agreement (the “Agreement”) with Lineage Cell Therapeutics, Inc. (“Lineage”). This marks the next step in the strategic collaboration announced in February 2023, under which Eterna is developing innovative engineered hypoimmune iPSC lines that Lineage will evaluate for development into differentiated cell transplant therapies for central nervous system (CNS) diseases and other neurology indications.
“We are excited to move forward with the next phase of our partnership with Lineage,” said Matt Angel, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer and President of Eterna. “We believe that pluripotent cell therapies have the potential to significantly outperform traditional approaches in certain settings, and this milestone highlights Eterna’s capabilities for generating novel gene-edited iPSC lines using our mRNA cell engineering platform.”
“Our partnership with Eterna reflects an important step in a corporate strategy intended to capitalize on our existing process development capabilities by combining them with cutting-edge cell engineering and editing technologies, to create novel and potentially superior product profiles,” stated Brian M. Culley, Chief Executive Officer of Lineage. “This collaboration reflects our effort to broaden the application of our cell therapy platform and our plans for future success in this growing field. We look forward to leveraging our expertise to develop innovative cell transplant therapies that have the potential to transform the treatment of a wide range of diseases by capitalizing on the convergence of directed cell differentiation and manufacturing with modern gene-editing technology.”
Eterna’s next-generation mRNA gene-editing approach is designed to efficiently inactivate target genes and to replace viral methods for insertion of genes of interest into target cells for long-lasting expression of transgenes. Since announcing the deal earlier this year, Lineage has evaluated its development strategy with a group of leading neurology experts in the U.S. and abroad. As a result of these and other discussions, and an assessment of the competitive landscape, Lineage finalized its selection of specific gene edits for the initial cell lines to be developed by Eterna and made an initial payment to Eterna under the Agreement. It is anticipated that these edits would expand the edited cell lines’ overall utility, including for non-immune privileged or non-human leukocyte antigen (HLA) matched indications and will further differentiate the cell line from others currently in use by competitors. The novel hypoimmune iPSC line to be developed under the Agreement will include the following three edits:
Under the Agreement, Eterna plans to conduct certain gene-editing activities and provide materials to Lineage for evaluation. Lineage will make milestone payments to Eterna and in connection with Eterna’s successful delivery to Lineage of certain materials. Lineage also has an option to obtain an exclusive license to utilize and sublicense the novel gene-edited cell lines developed by Eterna for preclinical, clinical, and commercial purposes in developing potential treatments for CNS diseases.
Eterna Therapeutics is a life science company committed to realizing the potential of mRNA cell engineering to provide patients with transformational new medicines. Eterna has in-licensed a portfolio of over 130 patents covering key mRNA cell engineering technologies, including technologies for mRNA cell reprogramming, mRNA gene editing, the NoveSlice™ and UltraSlice™ gene-editing proteins, and the ToRNAdo™ mRNA delivery system from Factor Bioscience. NoveSlice™, UltraSlice™, and ToRNAdo™ are trademarks of Factor Bioscience. For more information, please visit www.eternatx.com.
This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, which are intended to be covered by the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements are any statements that are not statements of historical fact and may be identified by terminology such as “believe,” “could,” “estimate,” “anticipate,” “expect,” “plan,” “possible,” “potential,” “project,” “will” or other similar words and the negatives of such words. Forward-looking statements are based on current beliefs and assumptions that are subject to risks and uncertainties and are not guarantees of future performance. Actual results could differ materially from those stated or implied in any forward-looking statement as a result of various factors, including, but not limited to, uncertainties related to: (i) the evolution of Eterna’s business model into a platform company focused on mRNA, iPS cell and gene editing technologies; (ii) Eterna’s ability to successfully, cost-effectively and efficiently develop its technology and products; (iii) Eterna’s ability to successfully commence clinical trials of any products on a timely basis or at all; (iv) Eterna’s ability to successfully fund and manage the growth of its development activities; and (v) Eterna ’s ability to obtain regulatory approvals of its products for commercialization. You should not rely upon forward-looking statements as predictions of future events. The forward-looking statements made in this communication speak only as of the date on which they were made, and Eterna does not undertake any obligation to update the forward-looking statements contained herein to reflect events that occur or circumstances that exist after the date hereof, except as required by applicable law. Factors that may cause Eterna’s actual results to differ from those expressed or implied in forward-looking statements contained in this press release are more fully disclosed in Eterna’s periodic public filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, particularly under the heading “Risk Factors” in Eterna’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2022, as well as under similar headings in Eterna’s subsequently filed Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q and Current Reports on Form 8-K.
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