RARE Daily

Novartis Acquires Gene Therapy Company Vedere Bio for up to $280 Million

October 29, 2020

Rare Daily Staff

Novartis is expanding its gene therapy footprint by acquiring the stealth-stage gene therapy company Vedere Bio for $150 million up front and up to $130 million in milestone payments.

The transaction closed in September 2020.

Vedere, which is focused on advancing photoreceptor-protein-based optogenetic therapies that are delivered to the retina intravitreally to restore vision, is based on technology from the laboratories of Ehud Isacoff and John Flannery of the University of California, Berkeley and the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.

The company was formed in the Atlas Venture incubator in June 2019, launched with a $21 million series A financing, and began lab operations at LabCentral in Cambridge, Massachusetts where it advanced its lead programs from concept to development candidate within one year.

“The medical need for new therapies to treat blindness is unambiguous,” said Jay Bradner, president of the Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research. “Vedere Bio’s innovative technologies expand the potential for gene therapy to improve the lives of patients facing vision loss due to photoreceptor death attributable to a number of prevalent eye diseases.”

Immediately prior to the acquisition, certain earlier-stage vision restoration and vision preservation assets leveraging the company’s ocular gene therapy toolbox were spun out into a newly formed entity—Vedere Bio II, which will operate as a wholly independent entity from Novartis and Vedere Bio.

“Through Vedere Bio’s approach, we are able to see the impact of venture philanthropy in achieving real progress in the development of new therapies for patients with vision loss,” said Ben Yerxa, CEO of Foundation Fighting Blindness. “For the millions of patients globally living with inherited retinal degenerations and other eye diseases caused by photoreceptor death, the advancement of novel optogenetics therapies provides hope for the future. In addition, we are eager to partner with Vedere Bio II to accelerate their novel ocular gene therapy programs.”

Photo: Jay Bradner, president of the Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research

Stay Connected

Sign up for updates straight to your inbox.