PARIS, Nov. 27 /PRNewswire/ -- FOVEA Pharmaceuticals SA. announced today that they have entered into a Collaborative Research Agreement with GENZYME Corporation (Nasdaq: GENZ). The alliance is anchored around Fovea's proprietary high content technology platform that allows the identification of new targets involved in photoreceptor degeneration in retinal dystrophies. The companies will collaborate to develop gene related therapies using FOVEA selected targets and GENZYME gene delivery technologies.
The ultimate cause of irreversible blindness in major retinal diseases is photoreceptor degeneration. According to the Foundation Fighting Blindness, rare inherited retinal dystrophies like Stargardt's Disease or Retinitis Pigmentosa are recognized as one of the most common inherited causes of blindness in people below the age of 50, affecting approximately 1.5 million people worldwide. In addition, in more common retinal disorders like the dry form of Age related Macular Degeneration, sight loss also results ultimately from photoreceptor degeneration.
In this complementary partnership, Fovea's scientific, clinical and pharmaceutical expertise in retinal diseases and Genzyme's extensive know-how in protein production and gene delivery will offer customized solutions for the understanding of the disease mechanisms, with the goal to develop new therapeutic strategies to prevent or reduce the severity of blindness.
"This first Research Partnership signed with Genzyme demonstrates the interest of our proprietary discovery platform," said Bernard Gilly, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of FOVEA. "This collaboration underscores the substantial opportunity that our expertise in retinal diseases and unique platform provide to increase the efficiency and probability of success in ophthalmology drug discovery and development."
Pr Jose-Alain Sahel, Professor of Ophthalmology, co-founder of FOVEA and Chairman of the SAB, said: "Retinal dystrophies are a major cause of vision loss. This collaborative agreement with GENZYME will allow FOVEA's discovery team to leverage its resources to develop new targets that have been identified using the technology platform and will hopefully give the opportunity to translate these discoveries into care for patients affected with blinding orphan diseases."
Fovea Pharmaceuticals SA (Fovea) is a privately-held biopharmaceutical company specialized in development and commercialization of drugs for the treatment of ocular diseases (dry eye, age-related macular degeneration, retinitis pigmentosa, diabetic retinopathy), with a special focus on retinal pathologies. Created in May 2005, Fovea has a highly experienced board and management team. Fovea has been funded by five leading European investors led by Sofinnova Partners and including Abingworth Management, The Wellcome Trust, GIMV and Credit Agricole Private Equity.
FOVEA has built a project portfolio including internal research programs on dry AMD, glaucoma (neuroprotection), retinal dystrophies as well as clinical programs underway for such indications as macular edema, allergic conjunctivitis, or retinitis pigmentosa.
To advance the development and commercialization of its programs, FOVEA is working both independently and through collaborators including industrial partners like Novartis, Genzyme, CombinatoRx, as well as with academic teams, like the Inserm unit U592, the Rothschild Ophthalmological Foundation, and the Johns Hopkins University.
For additional information about FOVEA and its programs, please visit www.fovea-pharma.com
One of the world's leading biotechnology companies, GENZYME is dedicated to making a major positive impact on the lives of people with serious diseases. Since 1981, the company has grown from a small start-up to a diversified enterprise with more 9 800 employees in locations spanning the globe and with 2006 revenues of $3.2 billion. GENZYME has been selected by FORTUNE as one of the "100 Best Companies to Work for" in the United States.
With many established products and services helping patients in nearly 90 countries, GENZYME is a leader in the effort to develop and apply the most advanced technologies in the life sciences. The company's products and services are focused on rare inherited disorders, kidney disease, orthopaedics, cancer, transplant, and diagnostic testing. GENZYME's commitment to innovation continues today with a substantial development program focused on these fields, as well as immune disease, infectious disease, and other areas of unmet medical need.
SOURCE FOVEA Pharmaceuticals