uniQure entered a nonexclusive cross-licensing agreement with Benitec Biopharma giving uniQure access to Benitec’s DNA-directed RNA interference (ddRNAi) technology in Huntington’s disease. In return, uniQure granted Benitec nonexclusive access to the company’s AAV5 delivery technology for the development of a ddRNAi therapy for Hepatitis B.

“While our current programs focus on delivering fully functioning therapeutic genes to remedy faulty or malfunctioning genes, Benitec’s ddRNAi technology will allow us to do the opposite—to silence the gene responsible for producing the mutant protein that lies at the basis of Huntington’s disease, and to develop a therapy for this devastating disease,” said Jörn Aldag, CEO of uniQure.

uniQure focuses on the development of human gene-based therapies. The company achieved market approval by European Commission for a gene therapy product, Glybera, for the treatment of lipoprotein lipase deficiency. Glybera is the first approved gene therapy in the Western world.

In June, uniQure collaborated with UCSF on the company’s glial cell-derived neurotrophic factor gene for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease.

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