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Editas Medicine, Inc. (NASDAQ:EDIT)
Q4 2019 Earnings Call
Feb 26, 2020, 5:00 p.m. ET

Contents:

  • Prepared Remarks
  • Questions and Answers
  • Call Participants

Prepared Remarks:

Operator

Good morning and welcome to Editas Medicine's Fourth Quarter and Full-Year 2019 Conference Call. [Operator Instructions] Please be advised that this call is being recorded at the Company's request.

I would now like to turn the call over to Mark Mullikin, Vice President of Finance and Investor Relations at Editas Medicine.

Mark J. Mullikin -- Vice President of Finance and Investor Relations

Thank you, operator. Good morning, everyone, and welcome to our fourth quarter and full-year 2019 conference call.

Shortly after the market closed, we issued a press release providing our financial results and corporate updates for the fourth quarter and full-year 2019.

A replay of today's call will be available on the Investors and Media section of our website approximately two hours after its completion. After our prepared remarks, we will open the call for Q&A.

As a reminder, various remarks that we make during this call about the Company's future expectations, plans and prospects constitute forward-looking statements for purposes of the safe harbor provisions under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Actual results may differ materially from those indicated by these forward-looking statements as a result of various important factors, including those discussed in the Risk Factors section of our most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K, which is on file with the SEC. In addition, any forward-looking statements represent our views only as of today and should not be relied upon as representing our views as of any subsequent date. Except as required by law, we specifically disclaim any obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements, even if our views change.

Now, I will turn the call over to our Chief Executive Officer, Cindy Collins.

Cynthia L. Collins -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Thank you, Mark. Good afternoon and thank you, everyone, for joining us for our corporate update call for the fourth quarter and full-year 2019. In addition to Mark, I'm joined by several members of the Editas executive team, including Judith Abrams, our Chief Medical Officer; Charlie Albright, our Chief Scientific Officer; Michelle Robertson, our new Chief Financial Officer, and Tim Hunt, our Senior Vice President of Corporate Affairs.

We are at an exciting point at Editas Medicine, developing differentiated, transformational medicines across a range of serious diseases and nearing the point of seeing them work in patients. On today's call, we will review some of what we have achieved over the past year, then look ahead to 2020 and beyond.

So let's start with some of our accomplishments over the past year. We initiated the first ever clinical trial of an in vivo CRISPR medicine in collaboration with Allergan of EDIT-101 for patients with LCA10. We started IND-enabling studies for EDIT-301 as a potentially best-in-class medicine for the treatment of sickle cell disease. We amended our collaboration with Celgene, now part of Bristol-Myers Squibb, to focus on developing engineered alpha beta T cell medicines for cancer. We are excited to continue our work with the leader in treating blood cancers. With the amendment, we received a $70 million cash payment and regained rights to develop engineered gamma T cell medicines in oncology.

We accelerated our efforts to develop engineered allogeneic NK cell medicines for cancer, through newly formed research collaborations. We enabled our development of healthy donor NK cell medicines for solid tumors with cell expansion technology from Sandhill Therapeutics, and we are advancing iPSC-derived NK cell medicines using technology from BlueRock Therapeutics. And we added outstanding executive leadership with the appointments of Judith Abrams as our Chief Medical Officer; Michelle Robertson as our Chief Financial Officer, and Harry Gil as our Senior Vice President of Operations. I am pleased to have Judith and Michelle joining me on the call today.

These accomplishments give us momentum into the coming year. In 2020, we plan to announce dosing of patients in the first quarter in the Brilliance Phase 1/2 trial of EDIT-101 in collaboration with our partner, Allergan. We plan to nominate a development candidate for autosomal dominant retinitis pigmentosa 4 or RP4, file an IND for EDIT-301 for the treatment of sickle cell disease, initiate IND-enabling studies for an allogeneic healthy donor NK cell medicine candidate to treat solid tumors, and finally, present in vivo preclinical proof of concept data for an engineered iPSC-derived NK cell medicine to treat solid tumors.

Now, let me turn the call over to our Chief Medical Officer, Judith Abrams, to update you on our Phase 1/2 clinical trial of EDIT-101.

Judith R. Abrams -- Chief Medical Officer

Thanks, Cindy. It's my pleasure to join all of you on the call today. As Cindy mentioned, last year we opened the Brilliance Phase 1/2 study for patients with LCA10 for enrollment. Enrollment activity has accelerated in recent months and we expect an announcement on the first patient dosing in the first quarter of this year. As a reminder, the first patient dose in the Brilliance clinical trial will mark a significant milestone toward delivering on the promise and potential of CRISPR medicine to durably treat devastating diseases such as LCA10.

I'm also pleased to share that as our research pipeline continues to progress to the clinic, we are building out our senior leadership in our clinical organization.

I'll now turn over the call to our Chief Scientific Officer, Charlie Albright, to discuss our broader pipeline.

Charles Albright -- Executive Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer

Thank you, Judith, and thank you all for joining us on the call. Following EDIT-101, our next in vivo ocular program is EDIT-102 for the treatment of Usher Syndrome 2A or USH2A. Like LCA10, USH2A is an inherited retinal disease that affects photoreceptors and leads to blindness. At the product level, EDIT-102 is nearly identical to EDIT-101, in that EDIT-102 uses the same AAV5 delivery vector, proprietary Staph aureus Cas9 enzyme and photoreceptor-specific promoter as does EDIT-101. Preclinical study support the advancement of EDIT-102 into an IND-enabling study, since we have demonstrated editing levels, mRNA transcriptional levels and phenotypic restoration that are consistent with therapeutic benefit. Based on these data, we delivered a data package for EDIT-102 to Allergan for potential licensing and development as part of our strategic alliance we formed in 2017.

Our learnings with EDIT-101 and EDIT-102 are being leveraged for other in vivo editing medicines, particularly AAV delivery of Staph aureus Cas9 is used in our medicine aimed at RP4, another inherited retinal disease, where we plan to declare development candidate for IND-enabling studies later this year.

Finally, we've expanded our in vivo research pipeline into neurologic diseases in collaboration with AskBio and hope to present additional data this year.

Transitioning to our engineered cell medicines programs, we are developing EDIT-301 as a potential best-in-class medicine for sickle cell disease and beta thalassemia. Our program uses the Cas12 enzyme to edit the HBG1/2 promoter and the beta globin locus to induce fetal hemoglobin in hematopoietic stem. Cas12a is proprietary to Editas and previously known the Cpf1.

For those unfamiliar with our program, our approach is differentiated from competitors who either edit the BCL11A enhancer locus or use gene therapy. We shared our latest data at the American Society of Hematology Conference in December. EDIT-301 added to the genomic region where human mutations are found to increase fetal hemoglobin. This genetic support is important as these data reduce the risk with human efficacy and safety. In contrast, the BCL11A enhancer approach does not have human genetic validation.

For EDIT-301, preclinical data shows that HPG editing and hematopoietic stem cells is durable and this is high levels of fetal hemoglobin that does not negatively impact blood cell lineage. The plan for IND -- for EDIT-301 IND filing for the treatment of patients with sickle cell disease by year-end.

The other major focus for engineered cell medicines programs is to treat cancer. We're developing an engineered alpha beta T cell medicines for cancer in collaboration with Bristol-Myers Squibb. The leader in treating blood cancers where we believe alpha beta T cell medicines has the potential to be particularly effective. In addition, we are advancing our wholly owned programs by editing innate immune cells, including NK and gamma delta T cell to treat solid tumors. We plan to begin IND-enabling studies midyear for an edited healthy donor NK cell medicine to treat solid tumors. We recently announced work with Sandhill Therapeutics to accelerate our healthy donor medicines. Sandhill brings established processes, manufacturing infrastructure and proprietary expansion method.

In parallel to healthy donor program, we are advancing engineered iPSC-derived NK cells or iNK cells, as medicines for solid tumors. In partnership with BlueRock Therapeutics now part of Bayer, we've made great progress editing and differentiating iPSC cells to form iNK cells. Combining the technologies of iPSCs and CRISPR gene editing brings together two platforms that can revolutionize engineered cell therapies. We're excited about this potential and look forward to updating you on our progress in the near future.

Now, I'll turn the call over to our newly appointed Chief Financial Officer, Michelle Robertson.

Michelle Robertson -- Chief Financial Officer

Thanks, Charlie. I'm pleased to join you all today to introduce myself and present the Company's latest financial results. I've been working in finance in the biotech industry for more than 25 years. Most recently as the CFO of Momenta Pharmaceuticals and prior to that in a number of leadership roles at Genzyme, Baxalta and Ironwood. For me, what differentiated Editas from other companies is the infinite possibilities to develop medicines that we are working on to help patients, and hard-pressed to think of another company with as much potential as Editas to develop truly transformative medicines for patients with diseases of unmet need. In this role, the opportunity to make a difference in the future of the Company were the big drawer.

Now, turning to the numbers. We have summarized our financial results for the fourth quarter and full-year of 2019 in the press release that we issued earlier today. Our cash, cash equivalents and marketable securities increased $88 million in 2019 to $457 million as of December 31, 2019, from $369 million as some December 31, 2018. Our uses of cash totaled $124 million and include cash operating expenses of $118 million and capital expenditures of $6 million. Over the course of the year, we grew the size of our organization by approximately 48%, increasing to 195 full-time employees from 132 at the end of 2018. The growth in our spending in 2019 with the expansion and maturation of the pipeline and advancement of our platform, we expect these to continue to be the primary drivers of spending growth in 2020.

Our sources of cash in 2019 totaled $212 million and consisted primarily of $116 million raised through equity issuance, $76 million in milestone payments from our business development partners and $15 million in proceeds from stock option exercises. Editas is in a strong financial position with at least 24 months of runway to fund the business.

And with that, I'll hand it back to Cindy.

Cynthia L. Collins -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Thank you, Michelle. We are confident in our strong leadership to guide the Company as we become a clinical stage biotech and embark on our next phase of growth. It has been a busy past few months for Editas and an exciting time as we look toward the coming year. We have filled out our executive team and are confident that a strengthened leadership will support the long-term growth of the organization, our best-in-class programs coupled with the unparalleled discovery research from our labs represent a pipeline of transformational medicines for diseases of unmet need. We are eager to see what 2020 and beyond will hold as we look to deliver on the promise of CRISPR to transform patients lives. We thank all of you for your interest and support.

With that, we will open up the call for Q&A. Operator?

Questions and Answers:

Operator

Thank you. [Operator Instructions] And our first question comes from the line of Steve Seedhouse with Raymond James. Your line is now open.

Steven Seedhouse -- Raymond James & Associates, Inc. -- Analyst

Hi, good afternoon. Thank you. My question is, at ASH -- so the data that was presented for EDIT-301, it's a nice dataset and you included sort of like the iterations on optimizing the protocol, whether it was the enzyme variant or the guide or the complexation conditions and electroporation conditions as well. So there is -- basically, there is a lot of moving pieces there. And I wanted to understand, if we set aside the fact that you guys are targeting a different locus and some of the first movers in the gene editing approaches. I'm curious if you could characterize, to what extent you believe the other optimized conditions, so like the electroporation and RNP complexation. Or novel or an improvement over what's already been done? Or does the best-in-class pitch for EDIT-301 just boil down basically to the different locus that you're targeting?

Charles Albright -- Executive Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer

Steve, this is Charlie. The best-in-class comes from a couple of things, one, we believe we have superior levels of fetal hemoglobin induction. And secondly, we believe we don't carry in the potential baggage that comes with adding the BCL11A enhancer. As you appreciate, you can't knock out BCL11A because that causes dire consequences and we -- in our preclinical models have found issues with even the BCL11A enhancer. So, we've gone out after a site in front of the hemoglobin locus we know is genetically validated and we scan the entire hemoglobin locus and we found sites that we thought can get the most fetal hemoglobin induction then we look for the enzyme combinations would do that.

So, as you appreciate, they are both productive and non-productive edits any time you cut, and we found that cutting at the site we did with Cas12a yielded a lot more productive edits than being cutting with Cas9. And -- but to make that work is a product we needed to optimize cutting with Cas12a and we did that, as you mentioned, with a variety of methods. We have a enzyme as a variant of Cas12a that has increased activity. We have variations of the guy that increase the ability to do the editing and we've optimized the electroporation conditions. And so, all of those things went into building the product.

Steven Seedhouse -- Raymond James & Associates, Inc. -- Analyst

Okay, thanks. That helps just understand the sequence of events and the thought process quite a bit. I wanted to also ask on EDIT-301. If the studies that remain ongoing are the gating factors to an IND comprise any primate studies? And is it -- if not, is it worth testing the beta globin targeting approaching in primates or are rodent model sufficient to sort of see differences in biology between that versus the first generation approaches?

Charles Albright -- Executive Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer

We don't have any ongoing primate study. So to do the primate studies, you actually have to redesign the entire product because it has to be able to cut the primate genome. The -- it's not clear yet whether the primate studies are going to be more predictive than the rodent studies or not. And so, at this point, we feel like the thing to do is to get it in the clinic as quickly as possibly because it's going to be the clinical data that actually determines the course with all of these class of medicines.

Steven Seedhouse -- Raymond James & Associates, Inc. -- Analyst

Okay. Thank you. And just last quick one, just it looks like operating expenses went up considerably in the quarter. I was just curious if you could shed some light on how that breaks out and what would carry forward into next year on a go-forward basis? Thanks for taking the questions.

Michelle Robertson -- Chief Financial Officer

Sure. As the programs advance, we'll continue to invest, especially as they go into the clinic, and we expect that to continue in 2020.

Operator

Thank you. And our next question comes from the line of Amanda Murphy with BTIG. Your line is now open.

Amanda Murphy -- BTIG, LLC -- Analyst

Hey, good afternoon. I just had a few more questions around the oncology business and I wanted to start out with the, I guess, now BMS relationship. You kind of specifically talked about allogeneic cells and I'm not sure what you can share there in terms of how that's progressing. But just curious, overall, there's obviously a lot of competition there, you've been working on that for a number of years, they clearly reupped with you and are interested in the program. So just wondering what your thoughts there on either there is a ton of data coming this year, how those programs might progress. And I want to shift after that on to all the sort of in-house programs that you're working on, but let's start with alpha beta as we can to start with?

Charles Albright -- Executive Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer

Okay. Hi, Amanda. It's Charlie. The -- yeah, we did reup with BMS. We -- they are the leaders in cell-based medicines for hematologic indications. And I think there's a good chance that their CD19 and BCMA programs are going to be industry-leading. We can't share the details of what's going on there. We can say in a more generic way that -- I think that from a light perspective, they're going to want to back up those programs and maintain their leadership. And so, we've disclosed a lot of data through the years about the types of edits we've been able to make in T-cells and I think it's safe to assume they're going to want to use some of those same targets. But we're not at liberty to disclose what the detailed products are.

Amanda Murphy -- BTIG, LLC -- Analyst

Yeah. Fair enough. And then -- I mean, then, obviously you've been building out quite a sizable portfolio when you think about what you've done with NK cells and the Sandhill [Phonetic] now with expansion and my understanding is that's kind of one of the key challenges of using NK cells is expansion technology. And so, you talked about obviously working with Sandhill and BlueRock. And then I think as part of the BMS [Indecipherable] agreement you got back gamma delta cells. So, would love to just kind of get a high-level view of how you're thinking about the sort of innate effecter cells as backbones? And you talk about solid tumor as a target, but just taking a step back from a high level pipeline perspective, how do you see this evolving over time? And what else do you think is interesting? I think Tregs have also been discussed by the some other companies, etc. So love to get your perspective there.

Charles Albright -- Executive Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer

Yeah. We'll take a stab at that. So we like the innate immune system. And so, we feel like NK cells are the place to start. And I'll come back to gamma delta in a minute. So we know that the NK cells are part of antibody-directed cellular cytotoxicity or ADCC, which is part of the mechanism of your therapeutic antibodies, things such as Herceptin and Erbitux are some among others. And we also know that NK cells have a very low propensity for graft versus host. So when it comes to making truly allogeneic medicines, they come already in a good place. And we further know that the path to making iPSC-derived NKs is reasonably well worked out at this point. So all those things we've taken together, and are leading us to go after the major unmet need, which is solid tumors, we think that the NK cells, they are exhausted as the T cells are exhausted in any of the solid tumor indications as well and there are things that we can do about that via gene editing.

And so, among the things we want to do is increase sensitivity to IL-15, targeting like the CD16 pathway better overcome the tumor microenvironment and make them truly allogeneic. So, all those things are possible with gene editing. The number of those you can do is limited with healthy donor and therein lies the advantage of the iPSC platform, not only do they ease of making the cells, ultimately become much better, but your ability to construct highly engineered medicines, which we think is going to be needed to be successful in this space are enabled. So we are in the process of industrializing the platform, which is a combination of the editing platform we've built over the last five years with an iPSC platform that we've got a jump-start with by getting cell lines from BlueRock Therapeutics.

Did that get you where you want to go?

Amanda Murphy -- BTIG, LLC -- Analyst

Yeah. I think I asked way too many questions in there, but I think also just talking about expansion that seems to be -- it's something that is a challenge with using NK cells. So wanted to get a little more perspective there and then also gamma delta.

Charles Albright -- Executive Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer

Yeah. So that's part of what we get -- it's a more of an issue for healthy donors than it is for iPSC-derived cells where you can just grow a whole lot. And so, that's part of what Sandhill brings to the plate for us. So -- and that's going to help enable our healthy donor program. We will begin but let us learn about what these different edits do in the context of solid tumors.

Amanda Murphy -- BTIG, LLC -- Analyst

So it's fair to say then [Speech Overlap]. Yeah. Sorry, go ahead. I'm sorry. Please.

Charles Albright -- Executive Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer

Gamma delta is another part of the innate immune system. Obviously, it's less the biology of gamma delta cells is less well worked out than NK cells are. But they remain an interesting area and among the reasons they're interesting as the relationship between the number of gamma delta cells, you see in your solid tumor and the control that tumor are among the best things that are correlated in the control of solid tumor growth. So, it's an interesting area, we're glad to have the ability to now work in that area. And you'll hear more about that in the coming months.

Amanda Murphy -- BTIG, LLC -- Analyst

So fair to say you're using different approaches to really tackle solid tumor using edited engineered effector cells. So that -- is that the right way to think about it as a [Speech Overlap]?

Charles Albright -- Executive Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer

Yeah. And we're trying to -- and I would further say, we're trying to take the natural properties of NK cells and make them -- and restore them and make them better. And so, NK cells, as I told you, participate in antibody-directed cellular cytotoxicity or ADCC. We also recognize cells that are lacking MHC. And so, thereby don't express T cell antigens. And so, one of the major resistance mechanisms to PD-1 inhibitor is the loss of T cell antigen expression. So if you had a therapeutic that could specifically target those cells, you have a nice add on the PD-1.

Amanda Murphy -- BTIG, LLC -- Analyst

Yeah. Okay. Thank you so much.

Operator

Thank you. And our next question comes from the line of Matthew Harrison with Morgan Stanley. Your line is now open.

Thomas Lavery -- Morgan Stanley -- Analyst

Hi, guys. This is Thomas Lavery from Matthew's team. I have a question about EDIT-102. When is your partner, Allergan, need to decide on next steps? And if they don't opt-in, what would be your plans to pursue a trial alone? Thank you.

Charles Albright -- Executive Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer

Sure. So the way the deal is structured is that, we agree on the targets and the option criteria with Allergan before we started a program and then we go away, we develop the medicine that fulfills the criteria. And then we deliver that option package, essentially at what would be known as a development candidate stage. So it's ready for IND-enabling tox study. And then Allergan has a period of time to evaluate that package and make a decision about where they opt-in or not opt-in. And then after that, we have a window to decide whether we co-opt-in with them to co-develop in the product with them. We did that for LCA10. And then -- and if they decide not to opt-in, the medicine comes back to us and we have the right to develop it on our own.

Thomas Lavery -- Morgan Stanley -- Analyst

Thank you.

Operator

Thank you. Our next question comes from the line of Gena Wang with Barclays. Your line is now open.

June -- Barclays -- Analyst

Hi. Thank you for taking my question. This is June [Phonetic] for Gena. So my first question is really about the LCA10. Could you give us a, first of all, some guidance about when the clinical data will be released? That's first.

And then also, can you give us a bit color about the range of your initial dose you would have to pay? And also, what kind of biomarkers you would be looking for that will help you to decide whether you're going to move on to the higher dose? I have a follow-up after that. Thank you.

Cynthia L. Collins -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Okay. Thank you for the question. So I'll start with the first part of it and ask Charlie to talk a little bit more about biomarkers and dose range. But, the overall trial is going very well. We are actively screening patients and have not disclosed when we will announce data at this point in time. As I mentioned earlier, we expect to announce dosing of the first patient this quarter, but we have not made any commitment around when we might think about sharing data. Charlie, do you want to...

Charles Albright -- Executive Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer

Sure. And so, we pick doses based on our preclinical studies. The low dose, we have a low, mid and a high dose, they are -- they span the dose that's used by Spark in the LUXTURNA trials, it was found to be efficacy and efficacious. The -- and it's a relatively narrow dose range, the lowest dose has a realistic chance of showing efficacy based on the preclinical studies, and you have to do that for a gene therapy trial. We're looking at a range of clinical outcomes. Some of them are clinical, their visual acuity, as well as electric physiologic and structural markers, including ERG and OCT, and we'll take all that data into consideration, as well as the safety and -- as we decide how to advance the program.

June -- Barclays -- Analyst

Great. Just following on that, how long you're generally going to wait after dose your lowest dosing of patient before you think that you will have enough information to decide whether to move on to the higher dose? What's the time -- week in time between the two doses?

Cynthia L. Collins -- President and Chief Executive Officer

So we have a safety review at the conclusion of cohort one. And that review period can be -- program to be approximately six weeks in duration.

June -- Barclays -- Analyst

Okay. So I have another question about the sickle cell disease. Obviously, you have you're preclinical data from ASH and you also elaborated about the advantages you have. So just for kind of myself benchmark understanding, what level of it efficacy you think will be something give you confident your program will be better or like best-in-class as you suggested? What the percentage of gene editing you are looking for to move forward?

Charles Albright -- Executive Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer

I think it's not so much of gene editing, it's just fetal hemoglobin reduction. So we're, obviously, going to optimize the percent editing, based on the technical features. But really what we're looking for are levels of fetal hemoglobin and then that would be predictive of clinical outcomes.

Operator

Thank you. And our next question comes from the line of Joe Thome with Cowen & Company. Your line is now open.

Joseph Thome -- Cowen and Company, LLC -- Analyst

Hey, there and thank you for taking my questions. On the EDIT-101 study, can you just let us know if -- has the first patient surgery been scheduled? And maybe what needs to happen before that patient is dosed? And then looking forward kind of toward the end of the year, do you still expect that you'll have dosed kind of the first two cohorts of patients in that study by year-end?

Cynthia L. Collins -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Yeah. Thank you for the question. So, as I mentioned, the trial is going very well. We are actively screening patients. As you heard from us previously, the screening and enrollment has been a little bit more complicated than other types of trials just getting patients lined up with family members, caregivers, things like that, but we are in daily contact with our partner, Allergan and working very collaboratively to continue to screen the patients. So I feel very good about where we are. We had said earlier that we do hope to treat both the first two cohorts by year-end and we're still tracking toward that.

Joseph Thome -- Cowen and Company, LLC -- Analyst

Okay, great. And then one more kind of just on more broad strategy. Obviously, you have a lot of partnered and collaborative programs. When you're looking at going into a new therapeutic area? I guess, how important is it to have a partner that you can kind of lend on their expertise and combine their strengths versus decide and do a program alone?

Cynthia L. Collins -- President and Chief Executive Officer

We've taken those, obviously, each one in isolation. And so, we have partners such as Allergan, where we have the extreme -- where we are co-developing and co-commercializing potential therapies. The partnership now with BMS, formerly Celgene-Juno was a little bit different in that it was a development collaboration. But our role was unique there. We weren't co-coing products per se. With some of the more recent deals that we've done Sandhill and BlueRock, and to some degree, AskBio, those were really purposeful in terms of getting access to either technology or capabilities that we thought were important to facilitate getting the programs up and running and going much more quickly.

Joseph Thome -- Cowen and Company, LLC -- Analyst

Great. Thank you so much and congrats again on the progress.

Cynthia L. Collins -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Thank you.

Operator

Thank you. And our next question comes from the line of Geulah Livshits with Chardan. Your line is now open.

Geulah Livshits -- Chardan Capital Markets, LLC -- Analyst

Hey, good afternoon, guys and thanks for taking my questions. So, to follow-up on that prior questions about EDIT-101. So I think at the third quarter results it was mentioned that the patient had been identified. The [Indecipherable] stick to some of the factors around the timing of dosing. And is that same patients is the one that still expected to be dosed? And then I have a couple of follow-ups.

Cynthia L. Collins -- President and Chief Executive Officer

So, I'm not sure I recall specifically the statement about first patient being identified a per se, but we are, as I said, actively screening patients. We have identified patients for the first cohort and are working even toward the other cohorts. So, that's what I can say at this point is that, we do expect to announce dosing our first patient this quarter.

Geulah Livshits -- Chardan Capital Markets, LLC -- Analyst

Great. And then, actually to follow up on some of the questions regarding the oncology programs. Can you elaborate a little bit more on the Sandhill collaboration and what drew you to work with that company? Then I have a follow-up on that.

Charles Albright -- Executive Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer

Sure. Sandhill has developed a technology they call BINATE, which allows the efficient expansion of NK cells, which is -- was -- as referred to earlier, a significant issue in the field. So that's the primary driver of that. It's a group that has experience in developing cell-based medicines as part of earlier companies and we felt like they could be a good partner in the NK field because of the technology they developed there.

Geulah Livshits -- Chardan Capital Markets, LLC -- Analyst

And that tech also applicable to the gamma delta cells or is that primarily for the NK program?

Charles Albright -- Executive Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer

There are elements that may be applicable to gamma delta that the primary use in the short run is for NK cells.

Geulah Livshits -- Chardan Capital Markets, LLC -- Analyst

And then I think at some point you previously had a collaboration with Gamida Cell. I think around NK technology. So, can you remind us, is that something that's still active? Or is this the Sandhill collaboration to perceive that? Or do both approaches come into play for a donor-derived program?

Charles Albright -- Executive Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer

Yeah. Those were independent collaborations, and we had an MTA with Gamida Cell.

Geulah Livshits -- Chardan Capital Markets, LLC -- Analyst

Got it. Got it. I think that's it from me. Thanks.

Operator

Thank you. And our next question comes from the line of Silvan Tuerkcan with Oppenheimer. Your line is now open.

Silvan Tuerkcan -- Oppenheimer & Co. Inc. -- Analyst

Well, congrats on the quarter, and thank you for taking my question. My first question is again about LCA10 data, when we eventually get it? Probably toward the end of the year? How comparable or what can we compare across to the Phase 1/2 clinical trial for by -- ProQR just in terms of is it similar patients? Is it not what's comparable? What's not? If you could give us some color there would be helpful?

Cynthia L. Collins -- President and Chief Executive Officer

So to comment on data, I do anticipate that there is the potential to have some data to share by the end of the year that's done. Our previous guidance, I'll ask Charlie to comment on the ProQR portion of the question.

Charles Albright -- Executive Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer

The patients are relatively comparable, that's the short answer to your question. There is not huge differences. I wouldn't know if there are detailed differences but they're in the same ballpark.

Silvan Tuerkcan -- Oppenheimer & Co. Inc. -- Analyst

Great. Thanks. And maybe one question for Michelle, as you're taking on the role of the CFO. Could you maybe help us understand how you view the different programs in, i.e., oncology and D&S now and sickle cell in terms of maybe on the dimension of risk versus pay off versus how you would allocate assets toward them?

Michelle Robertson -- Chief Financial Officer

Sure. I feel getting at the speed on the portfolio, but I think that we are comfortable with the two pillars that we've talked about publicly at J.P. Morgan and of the programs and the relationships that we have with our partners, I think that what we'll continue to do is assess the portfolio as a whole. So that we can prioritize the programs in our investments and map out our timelines in the events. And as we think about financing and supporting the portfolio, I believe that prioritization is going to be sort of key for the next 12 months to 24 months because the -- we have such a good pipeline and that we're going to have to -- I think focusing on the high-value programs, working closely with our partners.

Silvan Tuerkcan -- Oppenheimer & Co. Inc. -- Analyst

Great. Thank you so much. And maybe one last question here on this AskBio, CNS partnership. What are kind of the indications that you're going after in the long-term?

Cynthia L. Collins -- President and Chief Executive Officer

We have not yet disclosed the indication that we're pursuing with them.

Silvan Tuerkcan -- Oppenheimer & Co. Inc. -- Analyst

Okay, great. Thanks for taking my questions.

Cynthia L. Collins -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Thank you.

Operator

Thank you. [Operator Instructions] And our next question comes from the line of Yanan Zhu with Wells Fargo Securities. Your line is now open.

Yanan Zhu -- Wells Fargo Securities -- Analyst

Hi, thanks for taking the questions. So first question is on EDIT-301. Would you at some point share preclinical data comparing your gamma-globin promoter targeted approach versus the BCL11A enhancer approach? And also just hypothetically speaking, if there anything to be gained if the two targeting approaches are combined? Or do you think the gamma-globin promoter approach achieves maximum HBF induction already? Thanks.

Charles Albright -- Executive Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer

Sure. The answer to your first question is, yes, at some point we will disclose the comparative data, but I'm not sure when that will be.

Combining them is an interesting question. The -- I think there are some technical challenges with doing that. I guess, that wouldn't be our first move is. I guess, you'd have to edit -- you'd had to do both editing events at the same time. There will be some technical challenges that come with that.

Yanan Zhu -- Wells Fargo Securities -- Analyst

Right. Got it. Just a -- yeah, so the purpose of that question is mainly to see whether the two approach has -- there are HBF inductions that could be achieved by independent, say, different mechanisms or perhaps they are working in the same pathway and one is better than the other? But yeah, I agree that it's not a real proposal, but rather to understand the pathways. But maybe a quick question on the NK cell program, in terms of the kind of -- kinds of edits you're doing, I think you mentioned you're editing to increase potency of NK cell killing. Would the edit -- any edits to increase persistence also something that you're considering? Or do you see this mainly as a multiple dosing approach and therefore, persistence doesn't really come into the equation? Thank you.

Charles Albright -- Executive Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer

We will make edits to increase persistence even and multiple dosing still remains on the table as well.

Yanan Zhu -- Wells Fargo Securities -- Analyst

I see. Thank you very much.

Operator

Thank you. And this concludes today's question-and-answer session. I would now like to turn the call back to CEO, Cindy Collins for closing remarks.

Cynthia L. Collins -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Great. So with that, we thank you for participating in today's call and for your support as we work to bring transformative new medicines to patients. Have a great evening.

Operator

[Operator Closing Remarks]

Duration: 43 minutes

Call participants:

Mark J. Mullikin -- Vice President of Finance and Investor Relations

Cynthia L. Collins -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Judith R. Abrams -- Chief Medical Officer

Charles Albright -- Executive Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer

Michelle Robertson -- Chief Financial Officer

Steven Seedhouse -- Raymond James & Associates, Inc. -- Analyst

Amanda Murphy -- BTIG, LLC -- Analyst

Thomas Lavery -- Morgan Stanley -- Analyst

June -- Barclays -- Analyst

Joseph Thome -- Cowen and Company, LLC -- Analyst

Geulah Livshits -- Chardan Capital Markets, LLC -- Analyst

Silvan Tuerkcan -- Oppenheimer & Co. Inc. -- Analyst

Yanan Zhu -- Wells Fargo Securities -- Analyst

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