-- Third ocular product partnered with Sanofi approved to enter clinical development --
Oxford, UK – 18 October 2011: Oxford BioMedica plc (“Oxford BioMedica” or “the Company”) (LSE: OXB), the leading gene-based biopharmaceutical company, today announces that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved its Investigational New Drug (IND) application for the Phase I/IIa clinical development of UshStat®, a novel gene-based treatment for Usher syndrome type 1B. UshStat® was designed and developed by Oxford BioMedica using the Company's proprietary LentiVector® platform technology and is the third programme to enter clinical development under the Phase I/II ocular collaboration agreement signed with Sanofi in April 2009.
Usher syndrome is the most common form of deaf-blindness which affects approximately 30,000-50,000 patients in the US and Europe. One of the most common subtypes is Usher syndrome type 1B. The disease is caused by a mutation of the gene encoding myosin VIIA (MY07A), which leads to progressive retinitis pigmentosa combined with a congenital hearing defect. UshStat® uses the Company's LentiVector® platform technology to deliver a corrected version of the MYO7A gene to address the vision loss associated with the disease. On the basis of pre-clinical data, it is anticipated that a single application of UshStat® to the retina could provide long-term or potentially permanent stabilisation of vision. There are currently no approved treatments available for Usher syndrome type 1B. UshStat® has received European and US Orphan Drug Designation which brings development, regulatory and commercial benefits.
John Dawson, Chief Executive Officer of Oxford BioMedica, said: “This is the third ocular IND approval that Oxford BioMedica has received from the US regulatory agencies over the last 12 months which represents an exceptional achievement for our R&D and regulatory teams. The continued progress of our ocular programmes partnered with Sanofi will further support the development path for other LentiVector® platform products. With no approved treatment available for patients, we look forward to bringing UshStat®into Phase I/IIa clinical development later this year.”
Professor Richard Weleber, Principal Investigator at the Casey Eye Institute, commented: “We are delighted to be partnering with Oxford BioMedica in the design and conduct of this; the first trial of gene replacement for retinitis pigmentosa associated with myosin 7A-deficient type I Usher syndrome. As such, this trial represents a major milestone in the history of Usher syndrome. We conclude that the gene replacement therapy that will be evaluated in this trial has the potential to provide a substantial, durable benefit for the vision of these patients.”
Dr Stephen Rose, Chief Research Officer of the Foundation Fighting Blindness, an early funding collaborator of Oxford BioMedica’s pre-clinical ocular programme, added: “The IND approval for UshStat® is great news for people affected by a particularly devastating condition. UshStat® will be the first vision treatment for any type of Usher syndrome to move into a human study and, as a corrective gene therapy, it holds potential to halt the disease in its tracks.”
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Notes to editors
About Oxford BioMedica®
Oxford BioMedica (LSE:OXB) is a leading gene and cell therapy company focused on developing life changing treatments for serious diseases. Oxford BioMedica and its subsidiaries (the “Group”) have built a sector leading lentiviral vector delivery platform (LentiVector®) through which the Group develops in vivo and ex-vivo products both in-house and with partners. The Group has created a valuable proprietary portfolio of gene and cell therapy product candidates in the areas of oncology, ophthalmology and CNS disorders. The Group has also entered into a number of partnerships, including with Novartis, Sanofi, GSK, and Immune Design, through which it has long-term economic interests in other potential gene and cell therapy products. Oxford BioMedica is based across several locations in Oxfordshire, UK and employs more than 250 people. Further information is available at www.oxfordbiomedica.co.uk.
For further information please contact
Oxford BioMedica plc
John Dawson, Chief Executive Officer
Stuart Paynter, Chief Financial Officer
Tel: +44 (0)1865 783 000
Consilium Strategic Communications – Media Enquiries
Mary-Jane Elliott/Matthew Neal/Philippa Gardner/Laura Thornton/Rosie Phillips
Tel: +44 (0)20 3709 5700