PARIS, Nov. 27 FOVEA Pharmaceuticals SA. announced todaythat they have entered into a Collaborative Research Agreement with GENZYMECorporation (Nasdaq: GENZ). The alliance is anchored around Fovea'sproprietary high content technology platform that allows the identification ofnew targets involved in photoreceptor degeneration in retinal dystrophies. Thecompanies will collaborate to develop gene related therapies using FOVEAselected targets and GENZYME gene delivery technologies.
The ultimate cause of irreversible blindness in major retinal diseases isphotoreceptor degeneration. According to the Foundation Fighting Blindness,rare inherited retinal dystrophies like Stargardt's Disease or RetinitisPigmentosa are recognized as one of the most common inherited causes ofblindness in people below the age of 50, affecting approximately 1.5 millionpeople worldwide. In addition, in more common retinal disorders like the dryform of Age related Macular Degeneration, sight loss also results ultimatelyfrom photoreceptor degeneration.
In this complementary partnership, Fovea's scientific, clinical andpharmaceutical expertise in retinal diseases and Genzyme's extensive know-howin protein production and gene delivery will offer customized solutions forthe understanding of the disease mechanisms, with the goal to develop newtherapeutic strategies to prevent or reduce the severity of blindness.
"This first Research Partnership signed with Genzyme demonstrates theinterest of our proprietary discovery platform," said Bernard Gilly, Chairmanand Chief Executive Officer of FOVEA. "This collaboration underscores thesubstantial opportunity that our expertise in retinal diseases and uniqueplatform provide to increase the efficiency and probability of success inophthalmology drug discovery and development."
Pr Jose-Alain Sahel, Professor of Ophthalmology, co-founder of FOVEA andChairman of the SAB, said: "Retinal dystrophies are a major cause of visionloss. This collaborative agreement with GENZYME will allow FOVEA's discoveryteam to leverage its resources to develop new targets that have beenidentified using the technology platform and will hopefully give theopportunity to translate these discoveries into care for patients affectedwith blinding orphan diseases."
Fovea Pharmaceuticals SA (Fovea) is a privately-held biopharmaceuticalcompany specialized in development and commercialization of drugs for thetreatment of ocular diseases (dry eye, age-related macular degeneration,retinitis pigmentosa, diabetic retinopathy), with a special focus on retinalpathologies. Created in May 2005, Fovea has a highly experienced board andmanagement team. Fovea has been funded by five leading European investors ledby Sofinnova Partners and including Abingworth Management, The Wellcome Trust,GIMV and Credit Agricole Private Equity.
FOVEA has built a project portfolio including internal research programson dry AMD, glaucoma (neuroprotection), retinal dystrophies as well asclinical programs underway for such indications as macular edema, allergicconjunctivitis, or retinitis pigmentosa.
To advance the development and commercialization of its programs, FOVEA isworking both independently and through collaborators including industrialpartners like Novartis, Genzyme, CombinatoRx, as well as with academic teams,like the Inserm unit U592, the Rothschild Ophthalmological Foundation, and theJohns Hopkins University.
For additional information about FOVEA and its programs, please visitwww.fovea-pharma.com
One of the world's leading biotechnology companies, GENZYME is dedicatedto making a major positive impact on the lives of people with seriousdiseases. Since 1981, the company has grown from a small start-up to adiversified enterprise with more 9 800 employees in locations spanning theglobe and with 20