RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–StrideBio, Inc., a leading developer of novel adeno-associated viral (AAV)-based gene therapies, today announced the signing of a multi-technology collaboration with Duke University that will enable novel next-generation gene therapies against a broad range of disorders. StrideBio is advancing multiple products incorporating these technologies with an initial program targeting a novel treatment for the pediatric neurological disorder Alternating Hemiplegia of Childhood (AHC).
The agreements announced today provide StrideBio an exclusive license to multiple technologies that will enable best-in-class next-generation gene therapies developed at Duke University. Included are novel engineered AAV vectors which complement StrideBio’s existing STRIVETM capsid engineering platform, having been selected through a cross-species evolution that results in significantly enhanced tropism and potency versus AAV9 across a wide range of tissues such as CNS, skeletal and cardiac muscle. Data on these novel vectors were presented by Duke researcher and StrideBio co-founder, Aravind Asokan, Ph.D., at the American Society of Gene & Cell Therapy 23rd Annual Meeting in an abstract titled “Cross Species Evolution of Synthetic AAV Strains for Clinical Translation” (Gonzalez et al., ASGCT 2020, Abstract 24). In addition, StrideBio has licensed exclusive rights covering a novel use of IgG-degrading enzyme IdeZ to clear neutralizing antibodies in conjunction with AAV gene therapy administration. This innovative approach was recently published by members of the Asokan Lab in a manuscript titled “Rescuing AAV gene transfer from neutralizing antibodies with an IgG-degrading enzyme” (Elmore et al., JCI Insight, 2020, 5(19): e139881). Finally, StrideBio obtained license rights to a novel gene therapy approach for the treatment of AHC recently published by Duke researcher Mohamad Mikati, M.D., in a manuscript titled “AAV Mediated Gene Therapy in the Mashlool, Atp1a3Mashl/+, Mouse Model of Alternating Hemiplegia of Childhood” (Hunanyan et al., Human Gene Therapy, February 12, 2021).
Under the Master Sponsored Research Agreement (SRA), StrideBio will fund collaborative work to advance novel gene therapies initially against AHC and other undisclosed targets. AHC is a devastating pediatric neurological disorder with mutations in a causative gene, ATP1A3, that was first identified by a team of Duke University researchers, including Dr. Mikati, in 2012. StrideBio will work closely with Dr. Mikati using a mouse model of AHC developed in his lab to select and rapidly advance a novel gene therapy candidate to the clinic, leveraging the engineered AAV vectors developed by StrideBio along with its manufacturing and translational development capabilities.
The Master SRA between StrideBio and Duke University also provides a framework for additional new programs to be brought under the collaboration. These programs will aim to utilize novel engineered AAV capsids developed by StrideBio to improve potency, evade neutralizing antibodies and enhance specific tropism to tissues of interest. One additional undisclosed program targeting the CNS vasculature has been initiated.
“We are very excited to partner with Duke University to advance these technologies that can improve and expand on the potential benefits of gene therapies for patients who desperately need them,” stated Sapan Shah, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer, StrideBio, Inc. “We look forward to working together with a fantastic group of Duke researchers and clinicians to bring next-generation AAV-based gene therapies to patients with rare CNS diseases and beyond, starting with Alternating Hemiplegia of Childhood.”
“This License and Master Sponsored Research Agreement will ensure that these innovative technologies receive the resources and expertise necessary to develop treatments that can ultimately benefit patients. We are delighted to have StrideBio as a partner on this important effort in the gene therapy area,” commented Robin Rasor, Executive Director of the Office of Licensing and Ventures, Duke University.
Specific terms were not disclosed, but include equity, upfront and milestone-driven payments, and sponsored research commitments from StrideBio to Duke University, along with royalties on future product sales.
Founded in 2015 based on the groundbreaking research of Mavis Agbandje-McKenna, Ph.D., and Aravind Asokan, Ph.D., StrideBio, Inc., is a fully integrated gene therapy company focused on creating best-in-class genetic medicines with life-changing or curative potential for children and adults. Our proprietary structure-inspired adeno-associated viral (AAV) vector engineering platform (STRIVE™) creates unique and differentiated capsids that overcome current limitations of first-generation gene therapies. Key targeted improvements include reduced seroprevalence, improved tropism for specific cell types, liver de-targeting and increased gene transfer efficiency, with the potential for improved safety and reduced doses in the clinic. StrideBio is advancing a robust pipeline of gene therapy candidates enabled by these novel engineered capsids, initially focused on genetically defined CNS and cardiovascular disorders. Combined with our genetic construct design expertise and in-house manufacturing capability at a 1000L scale, we are well positioned to advance novel best-in-class AAV gene therapies. StrideBio is based in a state-of-the-art 40,000-square-foot facility in Research Triangle Park, N.C., which houses our offices, research labs and in-house AAV manufacturing facilities. For more information, please visit www.stridebio.com or follow us on LinkedIn.