ViGeneron, a Germany-based gene therapy company, has entered a target-specific strategic collaboration and option agreement with Regeneron Pharmaceuticals.
This agreement is on developing and commercialising a gene therapy product based on ViGeneron’s engineered recombinant adeno-associated virus vectors (vgAAVs) to treat an inherited retinal disease (IRD).
As per the terms of the research collaboration, the two firms will create and authenticate vgAAV-based therapeutic candidates for one undisclosed IRD target.
ViGeneron will get an upfront payment and research funding.
Regeneron receives an option for an exclusive license to develop, commercialise and manufacture the vgAAV-based product for the particular target.
ViGeneron has the eligibility to get an option exercise fee, development and commercial milestone payments, in addition to royalties on net sales.
ViGeneron’s vgAAV vector platform is intended to overcome the limitations of current adeno-associated virus (AAV)-based gene therapies.
So far, therapeutically impactful targeting of photoreceptors depends on subretinal vector delivery, which features great risks of retinal detachment and collateral damage, often without meeting widespread photoreceptor transduction.
vgAAV vectors could potentially allow the efficient transduction of target cells through intravitreal injection that enables lateral spreading and reduces the risk of retinal detachment, which is caused by conventional subretinal injection.
ViGeneron co-founder and CEO Dr. Caroline Man Xu said: “We are delighted to work with Regeneron to potentially provide an intravitreally delivered gene therapy for patients suffering from an inherited eye disease.
“This agreement with Regeneron further validates the potential of our vgAAV platform, which is excellent for us and also delivers a deal value that contributes financing for our platform and proprietary program development activities.
“Furthermore, it fits into our strategy of developing proprietary programs for selected retinal targets through clinical trials, while maximizing our technology platforms for additional collaboration programs in retinal diseases, CNS and other disease areas with bellwether biopharma. Our aim is to overcome the current limitations of gene therapy and to bring a novel therapeutic approach to patients in need.”