By Helena Smolak

Roche will partner with U.S. biotech company Ascidian Therapeutics to develop gene therapies through its RNA exon editing technology--a method that edits exons at the kilobase level, instead of direct DNA modification--to treat neurological diseases.

The Boston-based startup said Tuesday that it would receive $42 million from Roche as an initial payment, in addition to up to $1.8 billion in research, clinical and commercial milestone payments.

Ascidian will conduct discovery and pre-clinical activities with Roche and will provide the Swiss drugmaker its rights to RNA exon editing technology for undisclosed neurological targets, it said.

The deal is complementary to Roche's own gene editing strategy and aims to benefit its neuroscience portfolio over the next five years, Roche said.

Write to Helena Smolak at

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

06-18-24 0854ET