uniQure, which boasts the first and only gene therapy product to receive regulatory approval in the EU, Glybera, has acquired InoCard, an early-stage biotechnology company focused on the development of gene therapy products for cardiac disease. The founders of InoCard, Prof. Patrick Most and Prof. Hugo Katus, will join uniQure as managing director of uniQure in Germany and chairman of the scientific advisory board, for cardiovascular diseases, respectively.
uniQure, which completed a $91.8 million IPO in February, will give InoCard shareholders an upfront payment of €3 million ($4 million), and certain success-based milestones and royalties.
InoCard’s lead program is a gene therapy to express the calcium-binding protein S100A1, which is thought to be a master regulator of myocardial function. The therapy was developed based on Most’s and Katus’ discovery that S100A1 is downregulated in CHF and administration. According to the company, S100A1 has demonstrated in vivo beneficial effects on contractile force, growth control of heart muscle cells, and rhythm stability of the heart and is also able to adapt the heart’s energy supply to increased cardiac output. In a porcine heart failure model, treatment with InoCard’s gene therapy AAV-S100A1 reportedly demonstrated a 12-month survival rate of 90%.
“The acquisition of InoCard is a further demonstration of uniQure’s strategy to access the best early-stage programs in our industry and accelerate their development by the application of our proven modular platform,” commented Jörn Aldag, uniQure’s CEO. “There is strong scientific rationale that addressing calcium dysregulation leads to an astounding effect in congestive heart failure.”