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Feb 5, 2009

Oxford BioMedica to Obtain $250K to Support Gene Therapy for Stargardt Disease

  • Oxford BioMedica expects to receive $250,000 from the Foundation Fighting Blindness (FFB) to advance development of StarGen, a gene therapy for Stargardt disease. The investment originates from Paul Manning, a director of the National Neurovision Research Institute, FFB’s translational research arm.

    With today’s investment, Oxford BioMedica has allotted and issued 2,209,042 new ordinary shares at 7.95 pence per share. Oxford BioMedica is currently trading around $7.

    Under the original collaboration agreement inked in October 2006, the FFB and a consortium of investors committed to invest up to $3.9 million in the StarGen program by subscribing to new ordinary shares of Oxford BioMedica. The share subscriptions will be made in stages and priced at a 10% premium to the market price at the time of investment.

    StarGen uses LentiVector® technology to deliver a corrected version of a gene that is mutated in juvenile patients with this degenerative retinal disease. In preclinical studies, a single administration of the treatment was effective for six months, the company reports. Further preclinical development is ongoing or beginning at multiple sites in the U.S., including Columbia University, Yerkes Research Center at Emory University, and Oregon Health and Science University.

    "StarGen™ holds promise for being a highly effective treatment for people affected by recessive Stargardt disease, many forms of cone-rod dystrophy, and other retinal degenerative diseases caused by variations in the ABCA4 gene," according to Stephen Rose, Ph.D., chief research officer, FFB. "These diseases cause substantial vision loss often at an early age, and there are virtually no treatments available for them. "

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