Gritstone bio, a biotechnology company in the clinical stage, has entered into an agreement with Genevant Sciences, a company specialising in nucleic acid delivery.

As per the agreement terms, Gritstone bio will be granted a multi-year option for a non-exclusive license to utilise Genevant’s lipid nanoparticle (LNP) technology. This license will be applied on a pathogen-specific basis, allowing Gritstone bio to work on the development and marketing of self-amplifying RNA (samRNA) vaccines.

Gritstone co-founder, president and CEO Andrew Allen said: “Our previous collaborations with Genevant have demonstrated the powerful potential of combining the strengths of two technology leaders, and we are pleased to expand our relationship with this new agreement.

“With the established complementarity between our samRNA technology and Genevant’s LNP technology, evident in clinical datasets in both oncology and infectious disease, we are now even better positioned to capitalise on the emergence of RNA vaccines and therapeutics to address a broader array of infectious diseases.”

Genevant Sciences president and CEO Pete Lutwyche said: “The key role that LNP technology has played and can continue to play in the emergence of important medical advances has been a focus of Genevant scientists for over two decades.

“As leaders in the field, we are thrilled to build upon our relationship with Gritstone to pursue new and better approaches to combat infectious disease.”

According to the agreement’s stipulations, Genevant stands to receive option maintenance and exercise fees from Gritstone, amounting to several million dollars. Additionally, contingent milestone payments could reach up to $136m for each product, with the potential for increases in the case of multi-pathogen products and specific situations. Royalties, falling within the mid to high single-digit range, would apply to future sales of the products.

In situations where Gritstone chooses to sublicense an applicable infectious disease program, Genevant could opt for a percentage of the sums that Gritstone collects from its sublicensee instead of certain specified payments.