Editas CEO Katrine Bosley to Depart on Cusp of CRISPR Clinical Trial

Xconomy Boston — 

Editas Medicine has the regulatory blessing to test its experimental gene-editing therapy in humans, and a $25 million check from its partner, Allergan, for hitting that milestone. But Editas will conduct the clinical trial without Katrine Bosley, the CRISPR biotech’s top executive for nearly the last five years.

Bosley is leaving her post as president and CEO on March 1, Editas announced on Tuesday. Board member Cynthia Collins been appointed interim CEO while the Cambridge, MA, company searches for Bosley’s successor. The stock price of Editas (NASDAQ: EDIT) sank more than 20 percent to $20.74 per share following the announcement.

No reason was given for Bosley’s departure. She briefly discussed her move on Twitter, but offered no details on why she is leaving or what her plans are.

In a securities filing, Editas says Bosley notified the board on Jan. 19 that she would leave the company. She resigned from the board the same day. Though Bosley won’t be leading Editas, she’ll stay in contact with the company. She has reached an agreement to consult with Editas through the end of the year to help the new CEO’s transition.

Editas launched in 2013 with the goal of developing drugs that can “edit out” a genetic abnormality, which could potentially result in a normal, functional gene. Bosley joined Editas as CEO the following year. In 2016, she steered Editas to a $94 million IPO. The company’s lead therapeutic candidate, EDIT-101, is an experimental treatment for Leber congenital amaurosis type 10, a genetic form of vision loss that leads to blindness in childhood. The Editas treatment, which is injected into a patient’s retinas, is meant to delete the mutation that causes the disease.

The Editas approach to genetic disorders caught the eye of Allergan (NYSE: AGN), which paid Editas $90 million up front in 2017 to start a partnership encompassing up to five experimental gene therapies for eye diseases. In December, the FDA gave the company the green light to start tests of EDIT-101 in humans; it’s one of Xconomy’s clinical trials to watch in 2019.