Tiny Genovo lands Biogen as its partner

Biogen Inc. announced its long-awaited gene therapy collaboration, with Genovo Inc, a one-person startup associated with James Wilson, director of the Institute for Human Gene Therapy at the University of Pennsylvania.

BGEN (Cambridge, Mass.) will invest more than $35 million in Genovo over five years, including an undisclosed equity interest and milestone payments. BGEN received exclusive worldwide rights to certain gene therapy products, including products for cystic fibrosis and familial hypercholesterolemia (FH) and up to 20 additional products targeting diseases of the liver and lung. Genovo will receive a royalty on sales.

Genovo was founded in 1992 by Wilson and Mariann Grossman, who is president and COO of the company, to focus on in vivo gene therapy. Wilson will act as a consultant. The BGEN deal is the first funding for the Philadelphia company.

Viral approach Genovo's in-house research will focus on non-viral vectors, including liposomes and molecular conjugates.

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