Gilead and Precision BioSciences are to work together on developing gene-editing treatments against hepatitis B.

The firms plan to use Precision’s gene-editing platform ARCUS to generate nucleases able to hinder replication of the virus.

Precision will be primarily responsible for the development, formulation, and preclinical evaluation of the investigational nucleases, and Gilead will be responsible for the clinical development and commercialisation of potential therapies.

Gilead will fully fund research and development, and could pay Precision milestone payments of up to $445 million and tiered royalties that go up to the mid-teens for commercial products developed through the collaboration.

“We are excited about the potential of genome editing and Precision’s ARCUS technology, which has demonstrated promising in vitro activity. We look forward to exploring this technology as an important component of our HBV cure research efforts,” said John McHutchison, chief scientific officer and head of R&D at Gilead.