Oxford BioMedica and the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, have teamed up on an R&D collaboration that aims to develop a gene therapy for treating chronic glaucoma. The partners will carry out preclinical work to test the feasibility of using a therapeutic based on Oxford BioMedica’s LentiVector® gene delivery system expressing a COX-2 gene and a PGF-2alpha receptor gene, for use in reducing intraocular pressure. The collaboration builds on research by Mayo Clinic scientists that has demonsrated initial proof-of-concept for the gene therapy approach. The U.K. firm in addition has an option to exclusively license the May Clinic’s glaucoma technology in the U.S., on completion of preclinical studies.
Oxford BioMedica maintains its LentiVector technology can stably deliver genes into cells with up to 100% efficiency, and can integrate genes into nondividing cells such as neurons and retinal cells. Studies suggest that in these types of cells, gene expression could be maintained indefinitely.
The firm’s lead in-house LentiVector-based product, ProSavin™, is in Phase I/II clinical trials for the treatment of Parkinson disease, but an additional four LentiVector-based products are in Phase I/II development in partnership with Sanofi, for the ophthalmic indications of wet age-related macular degeneration, Stargardt disease, Usher syndrome, and corneal graft rejection. “We believe that our LentiVector gene delivery system is perfectly suited to tackle chronic diseases of the eye,” comments Stuart Naylor, CSO at BioMedica. “We are pleased to be working with Mayo Clinic, a global leader in medical research, on a potential treatment for glaucoma that will further leverage our LentiVector platform technology and broaden our ocular development pipeline."