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Beam Therapeutics acquires a biotech focused on drug delivery

David Liu poses for a portrait inside his office at the Broad Institute. Liu is the co-founder of several companies, including Beam Therapeutics.
David Liu poses for a portrait inside his office at the Broad Institute. Liu is the co-founder of several companies, including Beam Therapeutics.Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff

Cambridge-based gene editing company Beam Therapeutics announced on Tuesday that it has acquired a Georgia-based biotech startup to expand the potential reach of its medicines.

Beam is shelling out $120 million in stock upfront, plus potential milestone payments, to acquire Guide Therapeutics. Guide is developing new ways to deliver gene therapies, which could help Beam overcome the challenges associated with administering gene-editing tools.

Guide says its screening platform can perform drug-delivery experiments in vivo at a rate up to 15,000 times higher than a traditional experiment.

“Since our founding, Beam’s strategy has been to establish the leading, fully integrated platform for precision genetic medicine,” said John Evans, chief executive officer of Beam, in a press release. “We believe that the innovative scientists and technology at GuideTx will enable us to broaden the reach of gene editing even further.”

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Guide was founded out of the Georgia Institute of Technology in 2018, and its investors include Biomatics Capital, GreatPoint Ventures, and GV.

Beam, which was founded in 2017, raised $180 million in an initial public offering last February. The biotech is using an emerging approach to CRISPR called base editing, which allows scientists to change the individual letters of DNA.

Beam’s stock was down 12.62 percent when the markets closed on Tuesday.



Anissa Gardizy can be reached at anissa.gardizy@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @anissagardizy8.