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Ionis Pharmaceuticals, the California company that turned RNA-targeting medicines from an unproven idea into blockbuster drugs, is now expanding into a new class of therapeutics that treat disease by editing DNA. 

On Monday, the company announced a partnership with Metagenomi to kickstart these efforts. Ionis will pay the Bay Area gene-editing startup $80 million upfront as the companies work together to develop up to four gene-editing therapies, with the option to add four more targets. Their initial plan is to focus on the liver, though the firms have yet to disclose precisely what diseases they’ll pursue. 

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