The agreement will see Orchard Therapeutics take charge of GSK’s gene therapy portfolio, including Strimvelis – approved in Europe for children with adenosine deaminase severe combined immunodeficiency (ADA-SCID) – and three preclinical programmes.
The agreement is part of GSK ongoing prioritisation restructure aimed at strengthening its pipeline with a focus on priority programmes in immune-oncology, and respiratory and infectious diseases, but is not evident of a move away from personalised medicine, the firm told us.
“We remain committed to using cell and gene technology. Our agreement in Orchard enables us to be part of the exciting science they’ll be progressing,” GSK spokesperson said.
“Beyond that, we’re investing heavily in our own cell and gene therapy technology platform, particularly in oncology, one of our four core areas. Eg. our T-cell receptor (TCR) research and our collaboration with Adaptimmune.”
GSK will take a 19.9% stake in Orchard, a seat on the company’s board, and will also receive royalties and commercial milestone payments related to the acquired portfolio.
The two firms will exchange manufacturing, technical and commercial insights and learnings on the development of gene therapy medicines to ensure the success of the assets.
According to Daley, Strimvelis will continue to be produced by the manufacturer Molmed in Milan, Italy.
“In parallel, Orchard is developing global manufacturing capabilities through partnerships with contract manufacturing organisations in Europe and the United States including Oxford Biomedica, Lonza and Hitachi Chemical Advanced Therapeutics Solutions,” he told us.
“In addition, Orchard is expanding its in-house manufacturing operations in California. It is expected that future gene therapies, if approved, will be cryo-formulations to allow their remote shipping to specialised treatment centres around the world. This will allow patients to receive treatment closer to home.”