Biopharma company Mogrify Limited, and Japanese regenerative medicine firm Astellas Pharma Inc., have announced a collaborative research agreement on in vivo regenerative medicine approaches to address sensorineural hearing loss.
Utilizing Mogrify’s direct cellular reprogramming platform, the collaboration will seek to identify novel combinations of transcription factors involved in cell differentiation to generate new cochlear hair cells.
As part of the collaboration, Astellas Gene Therapies, a division of Astellas, is covering the research cost of the work as well as contributing its expertise in adeno-associated virus (AAV) based genetic medicine and translational capabilities to complete experiments in pre-clinical models. Mogrify will exploit its bioinformatic platform, screening and validation process to characterize potential therapeutic factors.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 5% of the world’s population – or 430 million people – require rehabilitation to address their ‘disabling’ hearing loss (432 million adults and 34 million children).
The WHO estimates that by 2050, more than 700 million people – or one in every ten people – will have disabling hearing loss.
Louise Modis, CSO at Mogrify, said: “Mogrify’s human regulatory network-centric approach is well placed to identify superior factor combinations, therefore increasing the efficiency of direct conversion toward the target cell type in the ear. Combined with Astellas’ capabilities for gene therapy and research of sensorineural, this provides a clear path for the development of a novel in vivo reprogramming therapy for sensorineural hearing loss.”
Mathew Pletcher, senior VP, division head of gene therapy research & technical operations, Astellas, said: “In this collaboration, we will look to combine the unique delivery attributes of AAV-based gene therapy, with our deep translational capabilities in otology developed through our “Targeted Therapeutics for Auditory Regeneration”, and “Direct Reprogramming (Transdifferentiation)” initiatives. Through this collaboration, we will seek to address a significant unmet need in sensorineural hearing loss.”