Biotech giant Vertex Pharmaceuticals announced plans Thursday to acquire a Cambridge-based preclinical gene editing startup, giving a run for the money to fellow Cambridge drugmaker Sarepta Therapeutics and others developers of drugs for Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

Vertex (Nasdaq: VRTX) will pay $245 million upfront to acquire Exonics, with the potential of up to $1 billion in future milestone payments.

Privately held Exonics is developing a gene editing treatment for the rare disease Duchenne…

Boston Biz Journal