vchal /
13 April 2018Americas

Orchard acquires GSK’s gene therapy portfolio

Orchard Therapeutics has acquired GSK’s gene therapy portfolio, in an agreement intended to advance Orchard’s work in the field of rare diseases and allow GSK to focus on oncology.

GSK and Orchard announced their transfer agreement yesterday, April 12.

Under the strategic agreement British pharmaceutical company GSK will transfer its portfolio of approved and investigational rare disease gene therapies to Orchard, which is based in the US and the UK.

Orchard is clinical-stage gene therapy which focuses on using innovative gene therapies to tackle rare diseases. It specialises in autologous ex vivo gene therapy, a personalised treatment approach which uses the patient’s own stem cells to address rare genetic resources.

The release said the acquisition of GSK’s gene therapy portfolio will strengthen Orchard’s position as a leader in gene therapy for rare diseases.

The agreement follows GSK’s strategic review of its rare disease unit, as announced in July 2017. According to the release, GSK will continue to develop its capabilities in cell and gene therapies with a focus on oncology.

Orchard will assume all obligations arising from GSK’s current commitments, including collaboration agreements with Ospedale San Raffaele, Fondazione Telethon, and MolMed.

GSK formed a collaborative partnership with clinical research hospital Ospedale San Raffaele and biomedical charity Fondazione Telethon in 2010. The three have also been working alongside biotechnology company MolMed to develop strimvelis, the first stem cell gene therapy treatment for patients with a very rare disease called ADA-SCID.

In addition, in order to ensure a smooth transition, GSK and Orchard have agreed that GSK will continue to conduct “certain activities” in relation to the above commitments throughout 2018 in order to ensure “minimal disruption” to ongoing projects.

The two companies will continue to work closely on the transferred gene therapy portfolio; the release said they will “exchange manufacturing, technical and commercial insights and learnings on the development of gene therapy medicine”.

As part of the agreement GSK will become an investor in Orchard and will receive a 19.9% equity stake, alongside a seat on the company’s board. In addition GSK will receive royalties and commercial milestone payments.

John Lepore, senior vice-president of GSK’s research and development pipeline, said the agreement will allow Orchard to advance “important medicines for patients” while letting GSK build broader cell and gene therapy capabilities.

Mark Rothera, CEO of Orchard, said: “The acquisition immediately expands our primary immune deficiency and inherited metabolic disorder franchises and adds the potential for other franchises in the future.”

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