RARE Daily

Sana Biotechnology Acquires Oscine to Expand Expertise in CNS Cell Therapies

November 3, 2020

Rare Daily Staff

Sana Biotechnology has acquired Oscine, a company developing potentially curative or disease modifying cell therapies for disease of the brain and central nervous system.

The combination will integrate Oscine’s glial progenitor cell program and underlying technologies together with Sana’s broader platform and programs, which focus on creating and delivering engineered cells as medicines for patients. With the acquisition, Steve Goldman, Oscine’s scientific founder and a leader in CNS research with a focus on glial cells, will join Sana as the head of CNS Therapy. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

Glial progenitor cells are a key support system of the brain. They differentiate into the major support cells of the central nervous system: oligodendrocytes, the only source of myelin production in the adult CNS; and astrocytes, support neurons and the root of many neurodegenerative as well as myelin diseases. These cells either disappear or malfunction in a host of brain disorders. Glial progenitor cells thus have the potential to treat not only myelin disorders, but also a broad array of neurodegenerative and even neuropsychiatric diseases of the brain.

“We are excited about the potential of the glial progenitor cell program Oscine has been developing to help patients with a number of different diseases of the brain,” said Sana President and CEO Steve Harr. “Glial progenitor cells and their downstream products disappear or malfunction in many diseases ranging from rare genetic disorders to more common diseases like multiple sclerosis.”

Steve Goldman is a world-leading scientist and clinician in CNS research. During a 30-year career, he has worked at the University of Rochester as professor and chairman of the Department of Neurology, and as chief of its division of Cell and Gene Therapy. He also serves as co-director of Rochester’s Center for Translational Neuromedicine, a joint enterprise with the University of Copenhagen in Denmark. He has published more than 250 papers, holds more than 30 patents, and has served as a voting member of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Cellular, Tissue, and Gene Therapy Advisory Committee. He is board certified in neurology and neuro-oncology, and continues to work on the inpatient service at the University of Rochester Medical Center.

Photo: Sana President and CEO Steve Harr

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