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CGT Catapult, CombiGene ink collaboration to develop manufacturing process for novel gene therapy to treat epilepsy

London, UK
Tuesday, January 16, 2018, 14:00 Hrs  [IST]

The Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult (CGT Catapult) and CombiGene announced that they will be collaborating on a project to develop manufacturing processes for CombiGenes drug candidate CG01, a novel gene therapy for treatment of epilepsy. The collaboration aims to develop a complete and final manufacturing process which will allow CombiGene to progress to commercial GMP production and thereafter clinical trials.

CombiGene is pioneering a new therapy with the potential of dramatically improving the quality of life for a group of epilepsy patients for whom there currently is no effective treatment available. CombiGene’s unique platform uses gene therapy vectors to deliver a combination of neuropeptide y (NPY) and NPY receptors into brain cells which has shown to inhibit epileptic seizures, in a series of preclinical studies.

“I am very proud and very pleased to be working with CGT Catapult,” says Jan Nilsson, CEO of CombiGene. “CGT Catapult is highly renowned for its cutting-edge competence and state-of-the-art infrastructure for advanced therapeutic medicinal products. We evaluated several potential collaborators, and we could not have chosen a better partner.”

In addition to CGT Catapult’s capabilities in a range of critical areas such as manufacturing development and regulatory support, the organisation offers the possibility for its partners to commit to the individual steps in a development process one by one, something which is very important for CombiGene.

“CombiGene is a small gene therapy company, and from a financial and funding point of view, the step-by-step approach is very attractive for us,” CombiGene’s chairman Arne Ferstad explains.

In 2017, CombiGene finalized two important studies with highly promising results. Initial data from the preclinical proof-of-concept-study, show that CombiGene’s candidate drug, CG01, reduces the frequency of epileptic seizures in animals. Final data from the study will be presented during the first quarter of 2018.

The second human expression study, initial data shows that the therapeutic genes encoded by CG01 are expressed in epileptic human tissue, thereby confirming that this method of administering genes encoded by the candidate drug is successful in human tissue.

“We are delighted to be working with CombiGene to accelerate the commercialisation of an important gene therapy to treat an unmet medical need. It is testament to our international reputation and the capabilities that we offer that we continue to be the development partner of choice for innovative cell and gene companies.” says Keith Thompson, CEO, Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult

By combining modern neuroscience with recent advances in gene delivery, CombiGene has developed a method shown to suppress epileptic seizures in preclinical studies. The current focus is on continuing to develop this method into an effective and safe therapy for epilepsy patients, but the method may also have development potential as a means of treating other neurological disorders.

The Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult was established as an independent centre of excellence to advance the growth of the UK cell and gene therapy industry, by bridging the gap between scientific research and full-scale commercialisation.


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