Booming Homology Inks Deal for Huge New Massachusetts HQ
Things are looking up for Massachusetts-based Homology Medicines. Backed by financing from a collaboration with Novartis and an $83 million financing round in the summer, the company is moving to a new facility that provides more than triple the space of its current headquarters.
Although there is no timeline set for the move, Homology told the Boston Business Journal that it has leased a 67,000-square-foot facility in Bedford, Mass. That space will replace the company’s current 23,000 square-foot site in Lexington, Mass. Little was reported about the new facility other than the building has been recently renovated. Since its launch in May 2016, the privately-held gene-editing company has seen steady gains in employment, growing from 12 to 55, the Journal reported.
There was no information provided as to if the company plans for any additional growth spurts with the additional space. However, on its website, the company lists a number of open positions including molecular genomics scientist, the director of its toxicology research, an ophthalmology scientists, a biostatistics director and AAV immunologist.
The expansion was no doubt fueled by its recent collaboration with Swiss drug giant Novartis. In November 2017, the two companies struck a deal to use Homology’s proprietary gene editing technology to develop new treatments for select ophthalmic targets and a hemoglobinopathy disease. Homology’s platform uses adeno-associated viruses to overwrite DNA in cells to treat diseases. The two companies will use the AAV technology in a preclinical setting to engineer the viruses and develop them as treatments for the disease targets. Of the collaboration with Homology, Novartis said the deal will center on three streams, the blood and eye disorders, as well as an exploratory stream that could be used to target other undisclosed illnesses. Financial terms of the Novartis deal were not disclosed.
Craig Mickanin, a director at the Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research, said in a statement following the announcement of the collaboration that “AAV biology is one of the most febrile areas of basic research.”
Because AAVs do not cause illness, Novartis said they are attractive tools for genome editing. Case in point at the end of December, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Spark Therapeutics’ naturally occurring adeno-associated virus (AAV) gene therapy treatment Luxturna for the treatment of pediatric and adult patients with confirmed biallelic RPE65 mutation-associated retinal dystrophy.
Also in August, Homology secured $83.5 million in Series B funding. When added with its seed and Series A financing, Homology has raised $127 million since its 2016 launch.