RARE Daily

Tevard and Zogenix Collaborate to Advance Gene Therapies for Genetic Epilepsies

December 4, 2020

Rare Daily Staff

Tevard Biosciences and Zogenix have entered into a collaboration to identify and develop novel tRNA-based gene therapies for Dravet syndrome and other genetic epilepsies.

Dravet syndrome is a rare childhood-onset epilepsy marked by frequent debilitating seizures, lifelong developmental and motor impairments, and an increased risk of death (SUDEP). In addition to the catastrophic impact on the patient, the severity and unpredictability of the seizures, coupled with around-the-clock concern for the diagnosed child’s safety and well-being, can present significant emotional and logistical challenges for parents and all members of the family.

Tevard’s tRNA technology platforms are designed to address underlying genetic mutations in a precise and regulated manner through the correction of nonsense mutations and the enhanced production of functional proteins. Together, these approaches hold promise to treat genetic disorders that are not well suited to conventional gene replacement approaches.

“Tevard has assembled a team of leading experts focused on developing our breakthrough tRNA-based gene therapy platforms,” said Daniel Fischer, co-founder, president, and CEO of Tevard Biosciences. “Our collaboration with Zogenix will advance our mission to bring transformative gene therapy products to those living with Dravet and other rare and severe genetic disorders.”

Under the terms of the collaboration, Tevard will utilize its two unique tRNA-based discovery platforms focused on mRNA stabilization and nonsense codon suppression to discover and advance novel drug candidates for the treatment of Dravet syndrome and other genetic epilepsies. Zogenix will further develop the candidates through advanced preclinical studies and clinical development, and be responsible for worldwide commercialization.

Zogenix is responsible for funding the collaboration and, under the terms of the agreement, Tevard will receive an initial collaboration payment of $10 million, $5 million of which Zogenix has previously paid. Tevard will also receive $5 million in the form of a convertible note. Tevard is also eligible to receive additional development, regulatory and commercial-related milestone payments ranging from $70 million to $100 million for each program, as well as tiered royalties on future net global sales on any commercial products that result from the collaboration.

Photo: Daniel Fischer, co-founder, president, and CEO of Tevard Biosciences

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