Oxford BioMedica and Sanofi-Aventis Collaborates to Develop Gene-Based Treatments for Ocular Diseases
News Apr 30, 2009
Oxford BioMedica has announced that it has entered into a new collaboration with sanofi-aventis to develop novel gene-based medicines, utilizing the Company’s LentiVector® gene delivery technology, for the treatment of ocular diseases.
Oxford BioMedica will receive an upfront payment of US$26 million (£18 million) and committed funding of up to a further US$24 million (£16 million) over three years.
In addition, sanofi-aventis has an exclusive option for a worldwide licence to develop and commercialize four ocular products. If successful, Oxford BioMedica will receive further undisclosed license fees, milestone payments and royalties on product sales, the terms of which are consistent with other deals of this size and scope.
The initial payment from sanofi-aventis significantly strengthens Oxford BioMedica’s financial resources. As a result, with pro forma net cash1 as at 31 December 2008 of approximately £51 million, the Directors estimate that current cash is sufficient to support the Company’s operations into 2012.
The new agreement covers four LentiVector-based product candidates in the field of ophthalmology: RetinoStat® for wet age-related macular degeneration, StarGen™ for Stargardt disease, UshStat™ for Usher syndrome 1B and EncorStat™ for corneal graft rejection. There are currently no existing treatments for Stargardt disease, Usher syndrome and corneal graft rejection.
Oxford BioMedica has granted sanofi-aventis a license to develop the products, and an option for further development, manufacture and commercialization on a worldwide basis.
Oxford BioMedica will be responsible for preclinical development and for conducting initial Phase I/II studies. Under the joint development plan, the companies aim to advance all four product candidates into Phase I/II development within three years.
At any time prior to or within a defined period after completion of each Phase I/II study, sanofi-aventis can exercise its option to license the products and will then assume responsibility for ongoing activities. Sanofi-aventis also has rights to broaden its license to develop the four products in additional indications, and has rights of first refusal to license other LentiVector-based products for the treatment of ocular diseases.
Habitat loss, habitat fragmentation and the loss of genetic diversity are the main factors driving the extinction of many wild species, and the few eastern massasauga rattlesnakes remaining in Illinois have certainly suffered two of the three. A long-term study of these snakes reveals, however, that – despite their alarming decline in numbers – they have retained a surprising amount of genetic diversity.READ MORE
Researchers have discovered a navigational gene in glass catfish called the electromagnetic-perceptive gene, or EPG, that responds to certain magnetic waves. These findings have the potential to revolutionize treatments for humans and help those who suffer from tremors related to Parkinson’s and seizures associated with epilepsy.