RARE Daily

Biogen and ViGeneron Enter into Global Development Collaboration for Ophthalmic Gene Therapy

January 5, 2021

Rare Daily Staff

Biogen entered into a global collaboration agreement with German biotech ViGeneron to develop an AAV-based gene therapy for an undisclosed target to treat inherited eye disease.

The deal comes two years after Biogen entered the ophthalmic gene therapy space, paying $800 million to buy Nightstar Therapeutics.

The companies will use ViGeneron’s proprietary vgAAV, novel engineered AAV capsids, which the company says allow for superior transduction efficiency and intravitreal administration, a less invasive treatment.

Under the collaboration, ViGeneron will optimize and validate in vitro therapeutic candidates for an undisclosed target to treat inherited eye disease. Biogen has the right to add an additional reserved target within two years after the effective date. The companies will work together on the in vivo proof of concept. Biogen will be responsible for all further development and commercialization of the selected therapeutic candidates.

ViGeneron will receive an upfront payment and R&D funding for the mutually agreed workplan. In addition, ViGeneron will be eligible to receive development, regulatory and commercial milestone payments, and will also be eligible to receive tiered royalties on net commercial sales of products arising from the collaboration.

“This collaboration exemplifies our strategy to develop in-house programs for selected retinal targets, while maximizing our proprietary technology platforms with additional collaboration programs for other targets in ophthalmology and further indications,” said Caroline Man Xu, co-founder and CEO of ViGeneron. “ViGeneron’s recognized expertise in retinal gene therapy together with Biogen’s leading research, drug development and commercialization experience is a powerful combination that we believe will allow us to deliver more novel gene therapies to patients in need.”

Photo: Caroline Man Xu, co-founder and CEO of ViGeneron


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