Trinity College Dublin biopharma spinout Genable acquired by Spark for €5.4m

9 Mar 2016

Genable owes its roots to pioneering research at Trinity College Dublin

Trinity College spinout Genable Technologies has been acquired by US gene therapy giant Spark Therapeutics for €5.4m and 265,000 shares.

Genable – which makes gene-based drugs that treat genetic diseases – will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Spark Therapeutics and will remain based in Ireland.

RhoNov is a treatment developed by Genable to target rhodopsin-linked autosomal dominant retinitis pigmentosa (RHO-adRP), an inherited retinal disease (IRD) that leads to blindness in many cases.

There is currently no approved pharmacologic treatment for RHO-adRP, which affects an estimated 30,000 patients worldwide.

Spark describes itself as a gene therapy leader seeking to transform the lives of patients with debilitating genetic diseases by developing one-time, life-altering treatments.

Genable’s roots on TCD campus

In 2011, we reported how Genable had secured €5m in financing from Fountain Healthcare Partners and Delta Partners.

The biopharma firm was created at Trinity College based on the work of Prof Jane Farrar, Dr Paul Kenna and Prof Peter Humphries.

“The longstanding support of our patient, institutional and funding partners and scientific colleagues has been central to expediting development of RhoNova from its academic roots in Trinity College Dublin through to today,” said Farrar, who is the company’s co-founder and CSO.

“Spark Therapeutics, a global leader in AAV-based gene therapy, has collaborated with Genable since 2014 in the development of RhoNova; our product has and will continue to greatly benefit from Spark’s knowledge and technology platform” she added.

Trinity College image via Shutterstock

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years