FOVEA Pharmaceuticals Enter into Research Collaboration in Ophthalmology with GENZYME
News Nov 28, 2007
FOVEA Pharmaceuticals SA has announced that they have entered into a Collaborative Research Agreement with GENZYME Corporation. The alliance is anchored around Fovea's proprietary high content technology platform that allows the identification of new targets involved in photoreceptor degeneration in retinal dystrophies.
The companies will collaborate to develop gene related therapies using FOVEA selected targets and GENZYME gene delivery technologies.
The ultimate cause of irreversible blindness in major retinal diseases is photoreceptor degeneration. According to the Foundation Fighting Blindness, rare inherited retinal dystrophies like Stargardt's Disease or Retinitis Pigmentosa are recognized as one of the most common inherited causes of blindness in people below the age of 50, affecting approximately 1.5 million people worldwide.
In this partnership, Fovea's scientific, clinical and pharmaceutical expertise in retinal diseases and Genzyme's extensive know-how in protein production and gene delivery will offer customized solutions for the understanding of the disease mechanisms, with the goal to develop new therapeutic strategies to prevent or reduce the severity of blindness.
"This first Research Partnership signed with Genzyme demonstrates the interest of our proprietary discovery platform," said Bernard Gilly, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of FOVEA. "This collaboration underscores the substantial opportunity that our expertise in retinal diseases and unique platform provide to increase the efficiency and probability of success in ophthalmology drug discovery and development."
Pr Jose-Alain Sahel, Professor of Ophthalmology, co-founder of FOVEA and Chairman of the SAB, said: "Retinal dystrophies are a major cause of vision loss. This collaborative agreement with GENZYME will allow FOVEA's discovery team to leverage its resources to develop new targets that have been identified using the technology platform and will hopefully give the opportunity to translate these discoveries into care for patients affected with blinding orphan diseases."
As genome editing technologies advance toward clinical therapies, they are raising hopes of a completely new way to treat disease. However, challenges need to be addressed before potential treatments can be widely used in patients. To tackle these challenges, the National Institutes of Health has launched the Somatic Cell Genome Editing program, which has awarded multiple grants including more than $3.6 million to assess the safety of genome editing in human cells and tissues.