RARE Daily

Ginkgo Acquires StrideBio’s AAV Capsid Discovery and Engineering Platform Assets

April 6, 2023

Rare Daily Staff

Ginkgo Bioworks said it has acquired StrideBio’s adeno-associated virus capsid discovery and engineering platform assets, a deal that strengthens its end-to-end gene therapy capabilities.

Ginkgo has significantly expanded its work and capabilities in gene therapy in recent years by acquiring Circularis’ proprietary circular RNA and promoter screening platform, partnering with Biogen to improve AAV manufacturing, and partnering with Selecta Biosciences to develop AAV capsids with altered tropism and immunogenicity.

Ginkgo said that AAV remains the preferred viral vector for gene therapy. It is used in hundreds of active clinical trials. However, pharmaceutical developers focusing on AAV still face challenges pertaining to limitations in targeted biodistribution, pre-existing immunogenicity and manufacturability.

StrideBio’s STRIVE platform, which uses a structural-engineering approach for generating novel AAV capsids to address these limitations, has produced a library of candidates that includes mature assets with strong evidence demonstrated for both performance and targeting across multiple animal models.

StrideBio’s platform generates capsids that are designed to overcome current limitations of first-generation gene therapies, including reduced seroprevalence, improved tropism for cell types beyond the liver such as those in the central nervous system and muscle tissue, and increased gene transfer efficiency, with the potential for improved safety and reduced doses in the clinic.

The company said the deal will allow its customers to leverage new tools to effectively target many different tissue types, and potentially to improve the safety profile of their future gene therapies.

As part of the deal, Ginkgo is also receiving StrideBio’s existing library of capsids, which includes advanced candidates extensively tested in large animal models, and which are now available for licensing and broader partnership.

Additionally, Ginkgo receives the IP and data for StrideBio’s lead preclinical asset for Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Cardiomyopathy (ARVC), a rare genetic heart disease. Ginkgo plans to sell or outlicense that to a commercial partner.

The acquisition is focused on the platform intellectual property and does not include any real estate.  One employee of StrideBio will transfer to Ginkgo as part of the transaction, joining Ginkgo’s mammalian engineering team.

“Combining Ginkgo’s engineering and discovery capabilities in enzymes, regulatory elements, and capsids enables a holistic approach to designing an AAV gene therapy, so that we can support our partners across the entire process of designing the viral vector,” said Narendra Maheshri, head of Mammalian Engineering at Ginkgo. “We are thrilled to integrate the STRIVE platform and know-how into our foundry to augment our capabilities in capsid engineering, and we look forward to continuing to expand our existing end-to-end capabilities in AAV discovery and manufacturing.”

Photo: Narendra Maheshri, head of Mammalian Engineering at Ginkgo

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