Dublin’s Genable Technologies secures licence to progress gene therapy product

23 Jul 2012

(From left) Dr Paul McKenna of Genable Technologies; Ena Prosser, partner, Fountain Healthcare Partners; and Prof Jane Farrar of Genable Technologies

Dublin-based biopharmaceutical company Genable Technologies has secured the worldwide licence to Benitec Biopharma’s ddRNAi technology, in a move the company believes will help progress the commercialisation potential for its lead gene therapy product to treat the eye disease retinitis pigmentosa.

Genable itself is a privately held, ventured-backed company that’s led by Jason Loveridge. The company’s lead product is GT038, a therapy it is developing to treat the degenerative eye disease retinitis pigmentosa. This is an inherited disease that causes severe vision impairment and blindness, according to the company, which also says there are currently no therapies available for its treatment.

Genable is expecting to start clinical trials of the therapy with patients who have retinitis pigmentosa in 2014.

Last year, the company completed a €5m financing round that was led by new investors Fountain Healthcare Partners alongside existing investors Delta Partners.

At the DNA level

Genable’s CEO Jason Loveridge said the deal with Benitec comes at an important juncture for gene therapy globally.

He was referring to the gene therapy-based product Glybera from Dutch company uniQure AB, which has just been authorised for approval for market launch in the EU, describing it as a “major milestone” for the gene-therapy sector in general.

“This has clearly established a proven path for securing regulatory approval for all companies working on gene therapy candidates and, more importantly, ensures new cures reach the patients that require them.

“We now have real clarity, for the first time, on the hurdles to overcome to bring a cure to market for families living with genetic diseases.”

Retinitis pigmentosa affects one in 30,000 people, according to Genable, which believes the market potential for GT038 is commercially attractive.

“The Benitec licence provides us with access to a patent estate that has relevance to a component of our own technology used in GT038 and adds depth to our IP position,” said Loveridge.

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic