Sun Pharmaceutical Industries through its subsidiary, and Intrexon Corporation, a leader in synthetic biology, announced the formation of a joint venture to develop controllable gene-based therapies for the treatment of ocular diseases that cause partial or total blindness in millions of people worldwide. Initial targets are dry age-related macular degeneration (AMD), glaucoma and retinitis pigmentosa.
The joint venture will leverage Sun Pharma’s global capabilities and experience in developing and manufacturing complex dosage forms and specialty pharmaceuticals for niche therapy areas. Intrexon and Sun Pharma will share in both the financing of, and the revenues from, the joint venture.
Through an Exclusive Channel Collaboration (ECC), the joint venture will have access to Intrexon’s full suite of proprietary synthetic biology technologies, including the RheoSwitch Therapeutic System (RTS) platform. RTS is a clinically validated method for controlling the location, concentration and timing of protein expression. RTS may address a long-standing limitation of current approaches by enabling patients to receive a targeted biologic therapy without having to endure a lifetime of injections.
In addition to the initial targets, the companies intend to further expand the future pipeline of targeted ocular diseases to potentially include wet AMD, macular edema, non-infectious uveitis and diabetic retinopathy.
Samuel Broder, Senior Vice President, Intrexon’s Health Sector and Former Director of the National Cancer Institute noted that current treatments for major ocular disorders require frequent and often painful interventions that, at best, only slow the progression of the disease.
“Using our RTS platform, the goal is to engineer a gene-based ocular treatment in which the concentration, location and timing of protein expression can be controlled with small molecule therapy,” Dr Broder said. “In combination with Sun Pharma’s tremendous development and manufacturing experience, we hope to produce a therapy that is minimally invasive as well as maximally effective in treating these debilitating diseases.”
Dilip Shanghvi, Managing Director, Sun Pharma, said, “We believe Intrexon’s biotechnology capabilities will enable us to develop not one, but several highly effective, novel treatments for multiple ocular disorders where there is currently an unmet need. Through this partnership it is our goal to provide relief for millions of people who today have very few treatment options and little hope of preserving their vision.”
Randal J Kirk, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Intrexon, said the collaboration between Sun Pharma and Intrexon is a model relationship aligned to accelerate development and production of new bio-engineered therapies.
“Today, more people suffer from ocular diseases than cancer,” Kirk said. “To address this immense unmet need, our innovative collaboration will unite Sun Pharma’s global capability to develop and manufacture complex pharmaceuticals with Intrexon’s proprietary cell and gene engineering technologies. We share Sun Pharma’s enthusiasm for the potential of our venture to produce a pipeline of product opportunities aimed at well-validated therapeutic targets.”
EP News Bureau – Mumbai