Novartis to acquire Gyroscope Therapeutics, gaining ocular gene therapy

By Rachel Arthur

- Last updated on GMT


Related tags Novartis Gene therapy

Novartis will acquire UK-based Gyroscope Therapeutics, the company behind a one-time investigational gene therapy for geographic atrophy (GA).

Novartis will make an upfront payment of $800m for the London-headquartered company, with potential additional milestone payments of up to $700m.
GA is an advanced form of dry age-related macular degeneration (AMD) that leads to progressive and irreversible vision loss. There are currently no approved treatments impacting disease progression for the up to 8 million people it affects.

Gyroscope Therapeutics’ GT005 is designed as an AAV2-based, one-time investigational gene therapy: which is currently in Phase 2 trials and has gained Fast Track designation from the US Food and Drug Administration.

Gyroscope also has several additional assets in its pipeline in early discovery for retinal diseases.

Ophthalmology focus

Spurred by its $8.7bn gene therapy acquisition of AveXis in 2018, the Swiss giant focused its sights on ophthalmology the same year with a licensing and supply agreement with Spark Therapeutics for Luxturna outside the US.

Last year, Novartis acquired Vedere Bio,​ giving it a new platform for AVV-based delivery of gene therapies and an optogenetics program for the treatment and prevention of mission loss and blindness. In September, it bought Swiss gene therapy start-up Arctos Medical,​ which focuses on developing ontogenetic therapies for treating blindness.
“With our own pioneering research in ocular gene therapies and our experience gained from bringing Luxturna to inherited retinal dystrophy patients outside of the US, Novartis has a well-established expertise in ocular gene therapies that will position us well to continue developing this promising one-time treatment”​ said Marie-France Tschudin, President, Novartis Pharmaceuticals.

“This acquisition is one more step forward in our commitment to delivering innovation in ophthalmology to treat and prevent blindness worldwide.”

Gyroscope Therapeutics’ GT005 is designed as an AAV2-based, one-time investigational gene therapy for GA secondary to AMD that is delivered under the retina. GT005 aims to restore balance to an overactive complement system, a part of the immune system, by increasing production of the CFI protein.

Complement overactivation can lead to inflammation that damages healthy tissues, and it has been strongly correlated with the development and progression of AMD. The CFI protein regulates the activity of the complement system. It is believed that increasing CFI production could reduce inflammation, with the goal of preserving a person’s eyesight.

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