WuXi signs on to help ReGenX manufacture gene therapies

Wuxi PharmaTech CEO Ge Li

Chinese CRO WuXi PharmaTech ($WX) is joining forces with the gene therapy experts at ReGenX Bio to hammer out a manufacturing process for the company's potential one-time treatments.

Under the deal, WuXi is lending its expertise in biologics manufacturing to help ReGenX establish a production process for treatments that use a safe human virus to insert corrective genes into the body. The pair will work out of WuXi's 145,000-square-foot Philadelphia facility, which the Chinese company said is outfitted to manufacture viral therapies like the ones in ReGenX's pipeline.

ReGenX, co-founded by gene therapy pioneer Jim Wilson, spent years out-licensing its proprietary technology, providing the engine behind high-profile projects from Voyager Therapeutics, Dimension Therapeutics and others. Now the biotech is turning its attention to in-house work, raising a $70.5 million funding round in May to fuel its internal efforts.

The company's product engine, called NAV, uses harmless adeno-associated viruses (AAV) to deliver functional genes that can replace or knock down the errant ones that lead to diseases. ReGenX plans to push its preclinical candidates toward human studies this year, and that's where WuXi will play a key role, the company said.

"This partnership leverages WuXi's world-class commercial biologics manufacturing and characterization capabilities, enabling us to develop top-quality manufacturing processes that we can use to advance our NAV Technology gene therapies into the clinic and ultimately through to commercial markets," ReGenX CEO Ken Mills said in a statement.

- read the announcement