Genzyme, a biotechnology company based in Cambridge, MA, recently announced it’s acquisition of gene therapy assets from the biopharmaceutical company Avigen, Inc. Specifically, Genzyme has acquired all of Avigen’s non-pain related adeno-associated virus (AAV) technology. AAVs can be implemented as vectors, in order to deliver genetic material to targeted cells, in the hopes of correcting the defect responsible for the disease.
The purchase allows Genzyme to strengthen its existing gene therapy research program, in order to develop therapies for several diseases. “We look forward to advancing Avigen’s ongoing work in Parkinson’s disease and hemophilia, areas where we believe gene therapy could play a meaningful role in treatment,” said Rich Gregory, head of research for Genzyme. Genzyme has also agreed to continue Avigen’s clinical collaboration in hemophilia gene therapy with hematologist Katherine High, MD, director of research in the division of hematology at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and professor of pediatrics at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. Dr. High will begin working on continuing clinical development with Genzyme in early 2006.
Under the agreement Genzyme will make a $12 million, up-front cash payment. In addition, Genzyme will make milestone and royalty payments to Avigen, which is headquartered in Alameda, CA, based on products developed using the acquired gene therapy technology.
Source: Avigen press release dated December 21, 2005