Biogen and AGTC team up to develop gene therapies for ophthalmic diseases

Posted: 2 July 2015 | Victoria White

Biogen and AGTC have announced a broad collaboration and license agreement to develop gene therapies for multiple ophthalmic diseases…

Biogen and AGTC have announced a broad collaboration and license agreement to develop gene-based therapies for multiple ophthalmic diseases.

The collaboration will focus on the development of a portfolio of AGTC’s therapeutic programmes, including both a clinical stage candidate and a preclinical candidate for orphan diseases of the retina that can lead to blindness in children and adults. The agreement also includes options for early stage discovery programmes in two ophthalmic diseases and one non-ophthalmic condition, as well as an equity investment in AGTC by Biogen and a license agreement for manufacturing rights.

“With this collaboration, we hope to advance gene therapies to open possibilities for patients who suffer from diseases that are well understood, but have no adequate treatment,” said Olivier Danos, Ph.D., senior vice president, cell & gene therapy at Biogen. “AGTC is an exceptional partner to help us advance our gene therapy capabilities by targeting diseases of the eye – an organ that provides an ideal setting for the localised, selective delivery of gene-based therapies.”

Collaboration to support the development of new gene therapies that may allow transformative treatments

“We expect this collaboration will further validate our novel adeno-associated virus (AAV) gene therapy platform and support the development of new therapies that may allow for transformative treatments for these rare inherited eye diseases and other clinical indications,” added Sue Washer, president and CEO of AGTC. “Biogen’s significant commitment to advancing gene therapies and demonstrated success in developing innovative therapies to treat complex diseases, combined with our proprietary manufacturing technology and extensive gene therapy experience, makes this an ideal partnership.”

The lead development programmes in the collaboration include a clinical candidate for X-linked Retinoschisis (XLRS) and a preclinical candidate for the treatment of X-Linked Retinitis Pigmentosa (XLRP). XLRS, a disease affecting young males beginning during the teenage years, can lead to serious complications such as vitreous haemorrhage or retinal detachment during adulthood. XLRP usually causes night blindness by the age of ten and progresses to legal blindness by an individual’s early forties. Both conditions represent significant unmet needs that may be addressed by replacing the single, faulty gene causing each disease.

Related organisations