Novartis acquires optogenetics gene therapy company Vedere Bio

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Novartis acquisition of Vedere Bio : US-based stealth-stage company Vedere Bio has been acquired by Swiss pharma giant Novartis in a deal worth up to $280 million, for its preclinical intravitreally-injected AAV gene therapy programs.

The company is engaged in advancing photoreceptor-protein-based optogenetic therapies that are intravitreally delivered to the retina for restoring functional vision.

Vedere Bio’s shareholders were paid $150 million upfront and will stand to receive up to $130 million in payments based on achieving early regulatory and clinical milestones.

Jay Bradner – President of the Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research, commenting on Novartis acquisition of Vedere Bio, said: “The medical need for new therapies to treat blindness is unambiguous.

“Vedere Bio’s innovative technologies expand the potential for gene therapy to improve the lives of patients facing vision loss due to photoreceptor death attributable to a number of prevalent eye diseases.”

Novartis acquires optogenetics gene therapy company Vedere Bio

Novartis acquires optogenetics gene therapy company Vedere Bio. Photo courtesy of Novartis AG.

The company was formed in June 2019 in the Atlas Venture incubator.

Vedere Bio was launched with a Series A financing of $21 million. The optogenetics gene therapy company started lab operations at LabCentral in Cambridge, Massachusetts where it is said to have advanced its lead programs from concept to development candidate within 12 months.

Just ahead of its acquisition by Novartis, some of the earlier-stage vision restoration and vision preservation assets, which leveraged its ocular gene therapy toolbox were spun out into a newly formed entity called Vedere Bio II.

Commenting on Novartis acquisition of Vedere Bio, Cyrus Mozayeni – CEO, President of Vedere Bio and Atlas Venture Entrepreneur in Residence said: “Vedere Bio’s photoreceptor-protein-based optogenetics program has important advantages over competing approaches and brings us one step closer to delivering functional vision to patients in need.  Our proprietary intravitreal capsids enable not only Vedere Bio’s optogenetics products but also other ocular gene therapies.

“Our sale to Novartis is an important milestone in advancing Vedere Bio’s most advanced programs to patients around the world. At the same time, I look forward to working with our experienced team to advance our highly innovative, earlier stage assets as part of the newly established Vedere Bio II.”

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