Janssen acquires rights to AMD gene therapy

By The Science Advisory Board staff writers

December 2, 2020 -- Janssen Pharmaceuticals has acquired rights of Hemera Biosciences' investigational gene therapy, HMR59, a one-time, outpatient, intravitreal injection to help preserve vision in patients with geographic atrophy due to age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

Geographic atrophy due to AMD, in which an overactivity of the complement system destroys cells in the macula, the central part of the retina responsible for central vision, can lead to blindness. HMR59 is designed to increase the ability of retina cells in the eye to make a soluble form of CD59 (low in AMD patients), helping to prevent further damage to the retina and preserve vision.

A phase I study of HMR59 in patients with geographic atrophy has already been completed. An ongoing phase I study in patients with wet-AMD is evaluating the long-term safety of HMR59.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

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