Rentschler Biopharma joins forces with Ikarovec to accelerate novel gene therapies for treatment of ophthalmic disease

  • Rentschler Biopharma to conduct adeno-associated virus (AAV) process development work for manufacturing scale-up at their ATMP site in Stevenage, UK
  • Ikarovec is developing novel gene therapies to treat serious, but common eye diseases
  • With accelerated timelines, Rentschler Biopharma incorporates early process development strategies, increasing the chances of success for groundbreaking therapeutics

NORWICH, United Kingdom and STEVENAGE, United Kingdom and LAUPHEIM, Germany, June 01, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Rentschler Biopharma SE, a leading global contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) for biopharmaceuticals, including advanced therapy medicinal products (ATMPs), and Ikarovec, which is developing novel multicistronic gene therapies to treat major ophthalmic indications, today announced that the two companies have entered into a collaboration. Under the agreement, Rentschler Biopharma’s ATMP site in Stevenage, UK, will support the bioprocess development of AAV material for planned pre-clinical testing of Ikarovec’s novel gene therapy for the treatment of geographic atrophy. This condition is an advanced form of age-related macular degeneration that can result in the progressive and irreversible destruction of retinal tissue, which can lead to loss of vision over time.

Dr. Katie Binley, Chief Scientific Officer of Ikarovec, said: “We are delighted to collaborate with Rentschler Biopharma on our lead program. As we look to find new and better ways to treat ophthalmic diseases, we want to get it right and ensure that our product candidates can be scaled up appropriately for each development stage and, ultimately, for commercialization. Thus, it is critical to work with a team that has strong AAV experience in our field and that will be a true partner every step of the way.”

Dr. Robert Panting, General Manager of Rentschler’s ATMP business, said: “We are excited to have the opportunity to collaborate with Ikarovec, which is developing truly innovative treatments for major ophthalmic indications. With our client-focused, highly tailored approach, our seasoned team will work closely with Ikarovec scientists to enable them to move forward into pre-clinical testing as rapidly as possible. By laying the foundation with process development and scale-up work, we aim to ultimately improve development timelines and increase the chances of success for our clients, who are working tirelessly to advance potentially groundbreaking treatments.”

Rentschler Biopharma is set up to offer a full range of services for the clinical supply of AAV, including bioprocess development through to cGMP manufacturing at their Stevenage facility in the UK. The company’s experienced, multi-faceted team takes a holistic approach, looking at a program from concept through to market, while a highly flexible business model is able to effectively address each client’s specific needs. Continuing Rentschler Biopharma’s well-established practice, the company works to be a true partner to entrepreneurial players to enable them to transform their ideas into real products with the potential to treat and even cure patients with serious and life-threatening diseases.

Dr. Christian Schetter, Chief Scientific Officer of Rentschler Biopharma, added: “With Rentschler Biopharma’s ATMP offering, we aim to address an important gap in specific support for innovative, early-stage cell and gene therapy programs. Ikarovec and its novel candidate are a perfect fit for our services. Understanding the needs of early start-up companies for robust and tailored CMC processes integrated optimally into the overall development plan, we collaborate closely with our clients as true partners and handle their projects as if they were our own. Thereby, our focus lies on constantly optimizing our latest service offering for AAV to complement their needs. By creating value sustainably, across the entire biopharmaceutical value chain, we are committed to enabling our clients to bring truly innovative therapies to patients.”

BIO International Convention:
  • Rentschler Biopharma will attend BIO in Boston, MA, June 5-8, 2023.
  • Federico Pollano, Senior Vice President Business Development and Client Program Management Rentschler Biopharma, and Kassim Kolia, Vice President BD of Rentschler’s ATMP business, together with the BD team, will be available for additional information and requests at the Rentschler Biopharma booth (#1135).
  • Meetings can also be scheduled through the partnering system.

About Ikarovec

Established in 2018, Ikarovec is developing novel, differentiated gene therapies for major ophthalmic indications. Its lead product, a bicistronic gene therapy for geographic atrophy, is in preclinical studies, and earlier programmes are targeting wet-form age-related macular degeneration (AMD), diabetic macular oedema and intraocular hypertension. Building on intellectual property spun-out of Quethera (bought by Astellas in 2018), Ikarovec was founded by UKI2S and recently raised a £2.5m seed round with co-funding from LifeArc and Parkwalk Advisers. There is an experienced senior management team in place with business development and commercial success in ophthalmology and gene therapy – Dr. Peter Widdowson (ex Quethera) is Founder and Chief Technology Officer, and Piers Morgan (ex UniQure) is Executive Chairman.

About Rentschler Biopharma SE
Rentschler Biopharma is a leading contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) focused exclusively on client projects. The company offers process development and manufacturing of biopharmaceuticals, including adeno-associated virus (AAV) gene therapies, as well as related consulting activities, project management and regulatory support. Rentschler Biopharma's high quality is proven by its long-standing experience and excellence as a solution partner for its clients. A high-level quality management system, a well-established operational excellence philosophy and advanced technologies ensure product quality and productivity at each development and manufacturing step. Rentschler Biopharma is a family-owned company with about 1,200 employees, headquartered in Laupheim, Germany, with a second site in Milford, MA, USA. Rentschler ATMP Ltd., located in Stevenage, UK, is dedicated to cell and gene therapies.

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Rentschler Biopharma SE
Dr. Cora Kaiser
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