The companies will develop a gene therapy for patients with a sensorineural hearing loss, which is a form of congenital hearing loss.
Applied Genetic Technologies (NASDAQ:AGTC) has announced that it and Otonomy (NASDAQ:OTIC) have entered into a strategic collaboration to develop gene therapies for congenital hearing loss.
As quoted in the press release:
Mutations in GJB2 account for approximately 30% of all genetic hearing loss cases. Patients with this mutation can have severe-to-profound deafness in both ears that is identified in screening tests routinely performed in newborns. Under the collaboration agreement, the parties will equally share the program costs and proceeds, and can include additional genetic hearing loss targets in the future.
“There is a tremendous unmet need for effective drug therapies to treat sensorineural hearing loss and this is especially true in children born with severe or progressive hearing loss due to genetic mutations,” said Lawrence R. Lustig, M.D., Chair, Department of Otolaryngology – Head & Neck Surgery, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. “Gene therapy holds great promise to restore functional and lasting hearing in these cases, with early intervention providing significant benefits in the development of language skills, socialization and overall quality of life for patients and their families.”
“We are excited to initiate this collaboration which combines our deep capabilities, technology and expertise in gene therapy development and manufacturing with Otonomy’s extensive experience in otic drug delivery and existing infrastructure for preclinical and clinical development in neurotology,” said Sue Washer, president and CEO of AGTC. “In addition to the positive data that we recently released supporting our XLRP and achromatopsia clinical trials, advancing this program in neurotology further demonstrates the versatility of our gene therapy platform and its applicability to treat a broad range of indications.”