Oxford Biomedica plc (LSE:OXB) and Santen Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. (Santen) have entered into an R&D collaboration with an option and licence agreement to develop gene therapy products for the treatment of an inherited retinal disease. The collaboration is aimed to develop an advanced lentiviral-based gene delivery system to apply to several ophthalmic indications, including wet AMD. While the clinicaltrials.gov database identifies several clinical studies by the company, results are still pending.
The lentivector platform indicates that the gene therapy system has large therapeutic payloads (up to 9kb) and allows permanent modification of dividing and non-dividing cells. In addition, the company expects that the lentiviral system has no pre-existing immunity. The platform may be applicable in many therapeutic areas identified in the company’s pipeline, including wet AMD, LCA10, RP1, Stargardt disease, Usher syndrome type 1B, corneal graft rejection and several other indications (cancer, Parkinson’s, haemophilia A and B and cystic fibrosis). According to the recent licence agreement, the R&D collaboration aims to generate pre-clinical proof of concept to treat an inherited retinal disease with lentiviral vectors developed and manufactured by Oxford Biomedica. The collaboration includes a licence to use OXB’s lentivector platform and access to its industrial-scale manufacturing capabilities. The companies agreed on an undisclosed milestone payment on exercise of the option to the platform, as well as development milestones and up to a 10% royalty on net sales. Santen has worldwide commercial rights to the programme, while OXB retains an option to co-fund and participate in development and commercialisation in the US and Europe.
In commenting on the announcement the CSO of the company, Naveed Shams, M.D., Ph.D., stated: “we are excited to partner with Oxford Biomedica and leverage their lentiviral vector platform to develop innovative therapeutics for an inherited retinal disease. A gene therapy approach to treating inherited retinal diseases will allow Santen to meet the needs of patients suffering from inherited retinal dystrophies. This important collaboration builds on Santen’s ongoing research efforts as part of the CiCLE Programme from the Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development, and further strengthens our commitment to addressing challenges in ophthalmic care.”