Mogrify and Astellas announce collaboration to conduct research on in vivo regenerative medicine approaches to address sensorineural hearing loss

CAMBRIDGE, England & TOKYO–()–Mogrify Limited (CEO: Darrin M. Disley, Ph.D., “Mogrify®”), a biopharmaceutical company transforming the lives of patients through a novel class of in vivo reprogramming therapies, and Astellas Pharma Inc. (TSE: 4503, President and CEO: Kenji Yasukawa, Ph.D., “Astellas”), a leader in regenerative medicine, today announced that they have executed a collaborative research agreement on in vivo regenerative medicine approaches to address sensorineural hearing loss.

Utilizing Mogrify’s proprietary 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.

An estimated 1.57 billion people globally suffer from hearing loss1, and US data suggests that over 10% have severe to profound sensorineural hearing loss in at least one ear2. This degree of hearing loss significantly reduces quality of life and, with no drug treatments currently available, represents a large unmet need.

Dr. Louise Modis, CSO, 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.”

Dr. 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.”

1. Hearing Loss Collaborators. Hearing loss prevalence and years lived with disability, 1990-2019: findings from the Global Burden of Disease Study 2019. Lancet. 2021 Mar 13;397(10278):996-1009.

2. Goman AM, Lin FR. Prevalence of Hearing Loss by Severity in the United States. Am J Public Health. (2016);106(10):1820-1822.

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