uniQure and Gen-X Enter into Research Collaboration and License Agreement for the Development of Novel Synthetic Promoters
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~ Gen-X Will Work with uniQure During an Exclusivity Period to Identify Novel Promoters for uniQure’s Product Portfolio ~
~ uniQure Receives Option to Acquire Gen-X Business for Use in Gene Therapy ~
uniQure N.V. (NASDAQ: QURE), a leading gene therapy company advancing transformative therapies for patients with severe medical needs, and Gen-X, a spin-off company from the Netherlands Cancer Institute, today announced that they have signed an exclusive research collaboration and license agreement with Gen-X, with an option for uniQure to acquire Gen-X, to identify novel synthetic promoters for use in gene therapy products.
Gen-X performs functional annotation of the non-coding genome using its proprietary Survey of Regulatory Elements (SuRE) technology. This technology measures the potential of hundreds of millions of DNA elements for their ability to serve as promoters or enhancers, driving the gene expression with a range of unique properties for gene therapy applications. The SuRE technology is unique among other promoter-identification technologies in finding non-coding promoter elements throughout the genome at remote sites where activity is regulated.
“Novel promoters are an important area of innovation in gene therapy with the potential to enable valuable functionality and improve treatment options,” stated Jonathan Garen, chief business officer of uniQure. “With the unique SuRE methodology developed by Gen-X, we will now leverage our modular technology platform to potentially identify new promoters and enhancers that drive gene expression in the right cell-type and under the right conditions. We are excited about the collaboration, providing us with the potential of applying this state-of-the-art technology and increasing the expression and effectiveness of our next generation gene therapy product candidates.”
During the collaboration, Gen-X will work exclusively with uniQure to develop promoters for the uniQure research pipeline. Through the SuRE technology, the Gen-X promoter library is designed to identify novel promoters to regulate gene activity and, if needed, conditionally control protein production. The parties will also explore further development of AAV vector libraries containing fragments of the non-coding human genome. Active promoter elements can be directly identified following administration of these libraries in vivo.
"We are very proud to enter into a partnership with uniQure, giving us the opportunity to demonstrate the value of the Gen-X platform in a gene therapy setting,” stated Joris van Arensbergen, Gen-X founder and CEO. “We believe that combining our platform with uniQure’s leading expertise in AAV gene therapy will accelerate the development of advanced gene therapy candidates.”
Until the expiry of the research term of the collaboration, uniQure has an option to acquire the issued and outstanding shares of Gen-X for a pre-agreed price. Financial terms on the research collaboration and license agreement were not disclosed.