Horizon Discovery and Rutgers University have announced that they have signed a partnership deal to commercialise a new gene editing technology.

The base editing platform modifies genes by creating single point mutations in DNA without making double-stranded breaks.

The technology was developed in the lab of Rutgers’ Robert Wood Johnson Medical School pharmacology associate professor, Shengkan Jin and has potential applications in the development of new cell therapies and will augment Horizon's research tools and services.

As part of the agreement, Horizon has made a non-material payment to Rutgers for an option to exclusively license the base editing technology for use in all therapeutic applications. Horizon will also fund further research in base editing at Rutgers University while undertaking evaluation and proof of concept studies at Horizon.

Base editing hopes to have a significant impact in enabling cell therapies to be progressed through clinical development and towards commercialisation.

Terry Pizzie, Horizon's chief executive officer, said: "Base editing is potentially transformative for all gene editing technologies with the potential to help target many diseases that to date have no treatment.

“As a world leader in the field of gene editing and gene modulation, both in research and applied markets, we are very excited to partner with Dr Jin and Rutgers University. By extending our scientific and IP capabilities, Horizon will now be able to more fully support our pharma, biotech and academic partners to deliver better cell therapy solutions to patients.”

Base editing is a novel technology platform for engineering DNA or genes in cells that has the potential to correct errors or mutations in the DNA by modifying genes using an enzyme.

Compared with currently available gene editing methodologies such as CRISPR/Cas9, which creates "cuts" in the gene that can lead to adverse or negative effects, this new technology could allow for more accurate gene editing while reducing unintended genomic changes.