British-Finnish Alliance to Bring Gene Therapy to the Masses

FIT Biotech and Avacta hope to combine their technologies to produce highly specific, best-in-class gene therapy treatments.

The two companies have spotted an opportunity to bring together their technologies and form a leading gene therapy system in a market that could be worth over $4.3B (€3.7B) by 2024. FIT Biotech, based in Finland, has been working on its Gene Transport Unit vector technology since 1995, while British biotech Avacta has developed Affimer technology, an alternative to antibodies.

The collaboration will investigate the suitability of combining the two companies’ technology into one powerful gene therapy. FIT’s gene transport unit was developed to provide prolonged but safe expression of a DNA-based therapeutic. It has been indicated for the treatment of cancer, HIV and tuberculosis. The plan is for Avecta’s Affimer, a class of binding proteins that bind difficult to access targets, to facilitate the highly specific delivery of FIT’s gene therapy vector.

The collaboration is up against some tough competition. Orchard Therapeutics’ gene therapy for ADA-SCID has been prioritized for review after it was tested in 40 patients. Vivet Therapeutics has developed a gene therapy for Wilson’s disease, which received Orphan Drug Designation from the FDA and European Commission. If FIT Biotech and Avacta can combine their platforms, the highly specific delivery of therapy could lift them above the rest of the field.


Image – Tom Wang / shutterstock.com

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