Scenic Biotech enters into genetic modifier collaboration with Genentech

Published: 21-Sep-2020

Multi-year strategic collaboration in target discovery and therapeutic development based on Scenic Biotech’s disease modifying approach

Scenic Biotech, a pioneer in the discovery of genetic modifiers to enable the development of disease modifying therapeutics for rare genetic disorders and other devastating illnesses, has entered into a multi-year strategic collaboration with Genentech, a member of the Roche Group, to discover, develop and commercialise novel therapeutics that target genetic modifiers.

Genetic modifiers are genes that counteract the effect of a disease-causing gene. They may explain why some people with genetic mutations linked to severe disease end up having only mild or no symptoms.

Also known as disease suppressors, genetic modifiers therefore positively influence the severity of disease and act as a "natural form of protection." Their discovery is leading to a completely new class of drug targets.

Under the terms of the agreement, Scenic will utilise its Cell-Seq platform and its data warehouse of genetic modifiers to identify drug targets in multiple therapeutic areas. The collaboration enables Genentech to select multiple targets for further development with an option to extend the collaboration.

Scenic will receive an undisclosed upfront payment and is eligible to receive additional target selection fees for drug targets taken forward by Genentech. In addition, Scenic is eligible for success-based payments for each target based on achievement of certain predetermined milestones, as well as royalties on sales of certain products resulting from the collaboration. The total deal value could exceed $375 million.

Scenic has built an extensive proprietary data warehouse of genetic modifiers and its Cell-Seq platform enables the development of potential disease modifying therapeutics for devastating diseases with an in-house focus on inherited rare diseases and immuno-oncology/inflammation.

The Company was founded in 2017 as a spin-out of the Netherlands Cancer Institute, and Oxford University and recently appointed Oscar Izeboud, PhD as its Chief Executive Officer.

Dr Sebastian Nijman, cofounder and CSO of Scenic Biotech, said: "Genentech is the pioneer in innovative biotech and has world leading research and development capabilities. Scenic is a science-driven company and having Genentech as our first major industry partner is a great validation of our technology and by working together it will extend the utility of our platform beyond our current therapeutic areas of interest."

"The collaboration also brings significant strategic value for Scenic as it enables us to realise the potential of our genetic modifier expertise alongside independently advancing our own programmes towards clinical development.”

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