Genzyme to collaborate on gene therapy in China

Readers of FierceBiotech are no strangers to all types of licensing deals, but Genzyme's new collaboration with a Chinese company may stand out. Genzyme is partnering with Shanghai-based Sunway Biotech to develop the experimental gene therapy Ad2/HIF-1a in China. Currently undergoing mid-stage trials in Europe and the U.S., Sunway will produce the gene therapy at its Shanghai plant and undertake clinical trials in China. Sunway is notable for being one of two companies which have bragging rights to commercializing a gene therapy. Its gene therapy for head and neck cancer was approved in China in 2005. Genzyme's gene therapy candidate is being tested to determine if it can successfully spur the development of new blood vessels in treating patients with peripheral arterial disease. Sunway--which has been actively seeking out Western development partners--will take the therapy through early and mid-stage tests and both companies will fund a late-stage study.

"We are eager to begin working with Genzyme, one of the established leaders in the field of gene therapy," says Sunway CEO Hu Fang, M.D. "This collaboration allows us to expand our focus beyond oncology to include cardiovascular disease, another area of serious unmet medical need where innovative therapies are urgently needed."

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