RARE Daily

Scenic Biotech Enters into Genetic Modifier Collaboration with Genentech

September 21, 2020

Rare Daily Staff

Scenic Biotech has entered into a multi-year strategic collaboration with Roche subsidiary Genentech to discover, develop and commercialize novel therapeutics that target genetic modifiers.

Genetic modifiers are genes that counteract the effect of a disease-causing gene. They may explain why some people with genetic mutations linked to severe disease end up having only mild or no symptoms. Also known as disease suppressors, genetic modifiers can positively influence the severity of disease and act as a ‘natural form of protection.’

Their discovery is leading to a completely new class of drug targets.

Dutch biotech Scenic, a 2017 spinout of the Netherlands Cancer Institute and Oxford University, is a pioneer in the discovery of genetic modifiers to enable the development of disease modifying therapeutics for rare genetic disorders and other devastating illnesses. The company has built an extensive proprietary data warehouse of genetic modifiers and its Cell-Seq platform enables the development of potential disease modifying therapeutics for devastating diseases with an in-house focus on inherited rare diseases and immuno-oncology/inflammation.

Under the terms of the agreement, Scenic will utilize its Cell-Seq platform and its data warehouse of genetic modifiers to identify drug targets in multiple therapeutic areas. The collaboration enables Genentech to select multiple targets for further development with an option to extend the collaboration. Scenic will receive an undisclosed upfront payment and is eligible to receive additional target selection fees for drug targets taken forward by Genentech. In addition, Scenic is eligible for success-based payments for each target based on achievement of certain predetermined milestones, as well as royalties on sales of certain products resulting from the collaboration. Total deal value for Scenic could exceed $375 million.

“Scenic is a science-driven company and having Genentech as our first major industry partner is a great validation of our technology and by working together it will extend the utility of our platform beyond our current therapeutic areas of interest,” said Sebastian Nijman, co-founder and chief scientific officer of Scenic Biotech. “The collaboration also brings significant strategic value for Scenic as it enables us to realize the potential of our genetic modifier expertise alongside independently advancing our own programs towards clinical development.”

Photo: Sebastian Nijman, co-founder and chief scientific officer of Scenic Biotech

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