Last month, Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) and UniQure, the Dutch pioneer in human gene therapy, were at the forefront of the scene after having agreed on two collaborations, respectively, an agreement between Bavarian Nordic & BMS and a collaboration between Sympromics & UniQure. A few days ago, they announced an exclusive strategic collaboration to develop gene therapies for cardiovascular diseases.
The collaboration which should be effective as of the second quarter of 2015 includes uniQure’s proprietary gene therapy program for congestive heart failure that intends to restore the heart’s ability to synthesize S100A1, a calcium sensor and master regulator of heart function, and thereby improve clinical outcomes for patients with reduced ejection fraction. Beyond cardiovascular diseases, the agreement also includes the potential for target-exclusive collaboration in other disease areas. In total, the companies may collaborate on ten targets, including S100A1. UniQure will lead discovery efforts and be responsible for manufacturing clinical and commercial supplies using its vector technologies and its industrial, proprietary insect-cell based manufacturing platform.