12:00 AM
 | 
Jul 20, 2015
 |  BioCentury  |  Strategy

Window to gene therapy

How AGTC deal helps Biogen grow its new gene therapy unit

Biogen Inc.'s recent deal with Applied Genetic Technologies Corp. is mainly a play to gain hands-on experience developing and manufacturing gene therapies while building its own gene therapy research unit.

Early last year, after a hiatus of several years, Biogen re-entered gene therapy via a deal to use Sangamo BioSciences Inc.'s zinc finger nuclease gene editing technology to develop treatments for beta thalassemia and sickle cell disease. In September, Biogen hired Olivier Danos as SVP of gene and cell therapy to build a new research unit to identify and develop technologies for gene transfer and genome engineering for therapeutic applications.

Danos began by acquiring options in January to license hemophilia A and hemophilia B gene therapy programs from San Raffaele-Telethon Institute for Gene Therapy (TIGET) after clinical proof of concept.

The AGTC deal is the largest yet, and adds assets and capabilities necessary to grow the unit. The deal also gives Biogen access to AGTC's ophthalmology expertise to support Biogen's basic research into the eye as a window to monitor neurodegenerative diseases.

"We were looking for a partner to bring that expertise in ophthalmology and gene therapy and also that would have mature gene therapy programs that could be in the clinic right away," said Danos. "AGTC offers all of that."

Biogen will gain exclusive, worldwide rights to rAAV2tYF-CB-hRS1, which is in Phase I/II testing for X-linked retinoschisis (XLRS), and a preclinical program for X-linked retinitis pigmentosa (XLRP) for which AGTC plans to file an IND in 2H16. Biogen also will gain options to programs in discovery for two undisclosed ophthalmic indications and one undisclosed non-ophthalmic indication. The options are exercisable once clinical candidates are selected.

AGTC will receive $124 million up front comprising $94 million in licensing fees and R&D funding and a $30 million...

Read the full 1530 word article

User Sign in

Trial Subscription

Get a 4-week free trial subscription to BioCentury

Article Purchase

$150 USD
More Info >