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Lonza to make heart failure gene therapy for Renova at Houston site

By Gareth MacDonald+

11-Feb-2016
Last updated on 11-Feb-2016 at 14:17 GMT2016-02-11T14:17:36Z

Lonza to make heart failure gene therapy for Renova at Houston site

Lonza will make a candidate heart failure gene therapy for Renova Therapeutics under the second biomanufacturing deal it has signed this week.

The Swiss life sciences supplier will develop production processes and manufacture Renova’s congestive heart failure medication - RT-100 (Ad5.hAC6) at its viral therapy facility in Houston, US.

RT-100 is an adenovirus vector-based therapy that delivers a gene encoding the protein AC6 (adenylyl cyclase type 6) directly to the heart tissue. Renova completed a Phase II study of the RT-100 last September .

The drug will be produced alongside another adenovirus-based gene therapy - Benitec Biopharma’s hepatitis C treatment candidate TT-034 – which Lonza was contracted to make at the Houston site in October .

High value focus

News of the Renova deal comes days after Lonza announced it would be producing candidate antibody-based drugs for retinal diseases under a contract with California, US biotech Kodiak Sciences.

At first glance the Kodiak deal differs from the Renova and Benitec deals as Lonza will not be involved in development of production processes.

However, all the agreements are in keeping with Lonza’s stated aim of increasing its involvement in the production of higher value, high technology drugs and therapeutics.

AAV history

Lonza will hope that Renova and Benitec’s candidates fare better than Celladon’s Mydicar  (AAV1/SERCA2a), which was another AAV-based drug it was contracted to make in Houston.

The Swiss firm completed development of the Mydicar manufacturing process and made a demonstration batch in December 2014. It was also poised to build Celladon a facility  and produce supplies of the drug for trials.

However, in April last year Celladon amandoned development of the drug – a gene therapy for heart failure – after it failed to meet primary and secondary endpoints in a Phase IIb trial .

Celladon has said since  that it does not intend to exercise its option to have Lonza build a facility.

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