- Prevail Therapeutics, the gene therapy-focused subsidiary of Eli Lilly, on Thursday announced a partnership with biotechnology company Capsida Biotherapeutics to develop genetic medicines for central nervous system diseases.
- Prevail plans to use Capsida’s adeno-associated virus technology to create gene therapies capable of targeting the central nervous system, while limiting exposure to the liver, where infused treatments often end up.
- As part of the deal, Capsida will receive $55 million upfront and a commitment from Prevail to participate in the smaller company’s next funding round. Prevail is also promising as much as $685 million in additional payments, should certain research, development and commercial milestones be achieved.
Capsida emerged in April 2021 with $140 million in funding from two venture firms and AbbVie, with which it had entered into a multiyear research collaboration. The company’s initial focus has been on neurological diseases and a research platform meant to develop next-generation adeno-associated virus, or AAV, vectors for gene therapy.
Later that year, Capsida also drew the attention of CRISPR Therapeutics, which sought to use the startup’s platform to develop treatments for Friedreich’s ataxia and ALS.
The company has continued to grow, appointing a new CEO, Peter Anastasiou, and expanding its executive team in December 2021. Anastasiou joined Capsida from Lundbeck and previously worked at Bristol Meyers Squibb and Lilly.
Prevail, which launched in 2017, was bought by Lilly in 2020 for $880 million upfront as part of the pharmaceutical company’s efforts to build up its presence in genetic medicine.
The buyout of Prevail also broadened Lilly’s pipeline of neurological disease drugs, adding experimental treatments in genetically driven Parkinson’s disease and frontotemporal dementia.