Spark teams up with Selecta on gene therapies
- Days after Spark Therapeutics announced positive results from its hemophilia B gene therapy, the biotech announced a deal with Selecta Biosciences for its synthetic vaccine particles (SVP) platform technology to co-administer with gene therapy targets.
- Spark will pay $10 million in cash upfront, as well as invest $5 million in Selecta stock. Within 12 months, Spark add in an additional $5 million in cash and another $10 million equity investment
- Selecta is also eligible for $430 million in milestones for each target — up to five, including Spark's hemophilia A treatment — as well as $65 million in regulatory milestones and $365 million in commercial milestones.
In what is considered the largest gene therapy deal to date, Selecta's technology platform will help Spark avoid immune responses to its gene therapy treatments.
The challenge with gene therapies is that they are delivered via viral vectors, which can cause a reaction from the immune system. Patients can develop antibodies that will then make future doses of the therapy ineffective.
"The paradox is that the patient needs the product but is rejecting it at the same time," explained Selecta President and CEO Werner Cautreels in an interview. "So, we've designed a platform to talk with the immune system."
Selecta's SVP technology platform will be co-administered with Spark gene therapies to help prevent the formation of antibodies.
Selecta will manufacture and supply the technology, while Spark will apply it to the gene therapies in its pipeline. Spark has already confirmed that it will be used in the development of a hemophilia A treatment.
Spark, along with partner Pfizer, announced positive results from an early-stage hemophilia B trial that showed strong, sustainable responses in nine patients. Development of its hemophilia B treatment is a year ahead of work on its hemophilia A therapy.
The deal is in line with Selecta's business development strategy. The company currently has two wholly-owned gene therapies that it is working on and has plans to conduct further licensing agreements for its technology platform.
- Spark Therapeutics Statement
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