Biogen signs $2 billion partnership deal with UPenn for gene therapies

pharmafile | May 17, 2016 | News story | Research and Development, Sales and Marketing Biogen, collaboration, deal, gene therapy, research 

Biogen (Nasdaq: BIIB) said it has signed a deal worth up to $2 billion with the University of Pennsylvania to advance the development of gene therapy and gene editing technologies.

The partnership will primarily focus on the development of therapeutic approaches that target the eye, skeletal muscle and central nervous system.

Under the terms of the agreement, Biogen will make an upfront payment of $20 million to the University of Pennsylvania, with an additional $62.5 million to cover R&D costs over the next three to five years. Biogen will also be granted an option to licence next-generation adeno-associated virus (AAV) vectors for certain indications outside the collaboration.

Olivier Danos senior vice president, Cell & Gene Therapy at Biogen said: “We are committed to advancing gene therapy, and our collaboration with the University of Pennsylvania has significantly strengthened both our leadership and overall capabilities in the field. Joining forces with gene therapy pioneers, James Wilson and Jean Bennett, further enables Biogen to approach the technology from a powerful perspective. By exploring next-generation delivery in various tissues such as the retina, skeletal muscle and CNS, we will explore the potential for extending gene therapy beyond disorders linked to single gene mutations and into a broader spectrum of complex diseases, including devastating neurological conditions that affect a multitude of patients throughout the world.”

Biogen has also signed a licencing agreement with Regenxbio for the exclusive rights to use adeno-associated virus serotype 8 (AAV8) or 9 (AAV9) technologies in ophthalmic collaboration programmes with the University of Pennsylvania, the company said in a statement.

The company said it aims to build a robust gene transfer and gene editing platform for the future treatment of inherited or acquired diseases.

Anjali Shukla

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