Earlier this week, Biogen and ViGeneron signed a global collaboration and licensing agreement to develop gene therapies for inherited eye diseases. The companies will use Munich-based ViGeneron’s proprietary adeno-associated virus (AAV) technology platform to efficiently transduce target retinal cells via intravitreal injections.
Under the agreement, ViGeneron will develop in vitro therapeutic candidates for an undisclosed target. Biogen has the right to add an additional target within two years. The companies will jointly conduct a proof-of-concept study, but then Biogen will be responsible for all further development, human trials, and commercialization.
In exchange for use of its AAV gene therapy vector, ViGeneron will receive an undisclosed up-front payment as well as R&D funds from Biogen. ViGeneron is also entitled to development milestone payments and royalties on commercial sales of any products arising from the collaboration.
The joint research effort is part of Biogen’s overarching plan to diversify its drug pipeline by focusing on ophthalmology, which CEO Michel Vounatsos considers to be an “emerging growth area” for Biogen. In March 2019, Biogen entered the field of retinal gene therapy through the $800 million acquisition of Nightstar Therapeutics, and in July 2020, the company signed an agreement with Massachusetts Eye and Ear that focused on developing treatment for inherited retinal degeneration due to mutations in the PRPF31 gene.
Here are some reports relating to this deal for your reference: GlobeNewswire; S&P Global; EndPoints News