Roche, Novartis give financial backing to French gene therapy start-up Vivet

May 5, 2017

Swiss drugmakers Roche and Novartis have provided financial backing French gene therapy start-up Vivet Therapeutics, with the latter raising EUR37.5 million (US$41 million) in an initial financing round.

The funds will be used by Vivet to advance a diversified pipeline of gene therapy programs targeting rare, inherited metabolic diseases, including Wilson Disease, progressive familial intrahepatic cholestasis type 2 (PFIC2), progressive familial intrahepatic cholestasis type 3 (PFIC3) and citrullinemia type I.

Vivet, created last year in Paris with a wholly owned subsidiary in Spain, is focused on developing novel gene therapies for rare, inherited metabolic diseases.

Its lead program VTX801, which is expected to enter clinical testing by the end of 2018, targets a condition called Wilson Disease.

This rare genetic disorder is caused by a defective gene in liver cells encoding the ATP7B protein, which reduces the liver’s ability to regulate copper levels in the liver and other tissues causing severe hepatic and neurologic symptoms, leading to liver transplantation and potentially death.

The disease affects approximately one in 30,000 people worldwide, corresponding to a prevalence of approximately 10,000 patients in the US and 15,000 patients in the EU.

Vivet has developed a next-generation AAV gene therapy technology designed to increase gene expression levels in the liver, while reducing the risk of undesirable immune system effects.

Gene therapy seeks to cure rare genetic diseases by offering a one-time fix of a faulty DNA. There is rising interest in the field, even though the Western world’s first gene therapy for an ultra-rare condition is being pulled from the market due to lack demand.

Other investors also include Spanish investment management company, Columbus Venture Partners;life sciences venture capital firm HealthCap;French venture capital firm Kurma Partners; and Spanish independent venture capital firm Ysios Capital.


Category: Community, Features

Comments are closed.