On Thursday, Ophthotech announced it has entered into an exclusive global license agreement with the University of Florida Research Foundation and the University of Pennsylvania.
For most life science companies collaborations mean a time to share technology while each company is still able to develop its own business separately.
On Thursday (June 7), Ophthotech (NASDAQ:OPHT) announced it has entered into an exclusive global license agreement with the University of Florida Research Foundation and the University of Pennsylvania.
Together the companies and institutions will develop and commercialize a novel adeno-associated virus (AAV) gene therapy product to treat rhodopsin-mediated autosomal dominant retinitis pigmentosa (RHO-adRP) to expand Ophthotech’s gene therapy portfolio.
The disease is an orphan monogenic disease that is characterized by progressive and severe loss and vision which leads to blindness. The company expects to initiate a Phase 1 clinical trial in early 2020 as per the license agreement.
“The scientific elegance of this novel gene therapy product is its design to knock down the expression of the mutant rhodopsin while delivering the replacement functional rhodopsin with a single AAV vector, restoring normal protein expression in preclinical studies,” Kourous A. Rezaei, chief medical officer of Ophthotech said in the release.
Rezaei is referring to the preclinical anatomical and functional proof-of-concept studies demonstrating “promising” results.
Ophthotech has also entered into a master sponsored research agreement with the University of Pennsylvania; it will be facilitated by the Penn Center for Innovation. They plan to conduct preclinical and natural history studies while Ophthotech begins investigational new drug-enabling activities.
In the US and the five major European markets, there is currently no approved therapy for RHO-adRP for which there are about 11,000 diagnosed individuals in total for those territories.
As the name suggests, Ophthotech is developing therapies to treat ophthalmic diseases, focusing on age-related and orphan retinal diseases. The company has two drugs for six different indications, most in Phase 2 clinical trials.
Since the licensing agreement announcement on Thursday, Ophthotech’s share price increased as high as 60 percent in early trading on Thursday but evened out at 10.36 percent overall increase to $3.09 at market close. The price has been volatile over the last year with an overall gradual increase of 9.80 percent, however depending on this news the price will show what how interested investors are.
Investors interested in the company can look forward to news from the company’s additional clinical trials and this collaboration agreement Phase 1 trial beginning in early 2020.
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Securities Disclosure: I, Gabrielle Lakusta, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.