Mayo Clinic accelerator launches first startup in potential $750M deal

Rochester, Minn.-based Mayo Clinic's cell and gene therapy accelerator has launched its first startup.

Primera Therapeutics aims to edit gene mutations to treat mitochondrial disease, which affects an estimated 1 in 5,000 people worldwide and often results in early childhood death. The company will collaborate with biotech firm Cellectis. 

The Mayflower Bioventures accelerator, a collaboration between Mayo Clinic and the Hibiscus BioVentures investment firm, began operating in August.

"It requires a team effort to drive this program forward into the clinic and for patients who are suffering with these dreadful diseases," said Stephen Ekker, PhD, dean of the Mayo Clinic Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences and an inventor for Primera, in a Dec. 29 Cellectis news release.

If Primera exercises a worldwide licensing option, Cellectis could yield up to $750 million in development and sales milestones.

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