Boehringer Ingelheim lands option on cystic fibrosis gene therapy

Boehringer Ingelheim has secured the option to license a cystic fibrosis gene therapy. The agreement will see Boehringer work with British academics and Oxford BioMedica (OXB) to develop an inhaled, lentiviral vector-based gene therapy treatment for cystic fibrosis.

The U.K. Cystic Fibrosis Gene Therapy Consortium (GTC), one member of the collaboration, laid the groundwork for the deal 17 years ago when it began exploring the viability of treating cystic fibrosis with a gene therapy. Since then, the academic partners from Edinburgh, London and Oxford that make up the GTC have taken a lentiviral vector gene therapy to the cusp of clinical development.

Boehringer’s involvement will help to power the candidate through the rest of the preclinical studies. The GTC will continue to lead development and up the data package needed to move into humans, but the consortium will now benefit from Boehringer’s money and R&D expertise.

The GTC will also receive nonfinancial support from OXB, the gene and cell therapy specialist that makes the lentiviral vector used in Novartis’ CAR-T therapy Kymriah. OXB is contributing its lentiviral-based vector manufacturing knowhow and capabilities to the cystic fibrosis program.

Imperial Innovations, the technology transfer office for Imperial College London, played a leading role in setting up the project, which Boehringer thinks has the mix of capabilities needed to succeed.

“Bringing together our existing expertise as a leader for nearly a century in the discovery and development of therapies that have advanced patient care in respiratory diseases with the gene therapy knowledge of our partners, we aim to unlock unprecedented opportunities for patients with this devastating disease who are desperately waiting for better treatment options,” Clive Wood, Ph.D., senior corporate vice president, discovery research at Boehringer, said in a statement.

Together, the organizations will work to prepare the gene therapy for clinical development. At some point in the R&D process, Boehringer can exercise its option to land the global rights to the asset. Financial terms of the deal have not been disclosed.