Dyno Therapeutics announced a collaboration with Novartis to develop improved adeno-associated virus (AAV) vectors for research, development, and commercialization of gene therapies for ocular diseases.
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
The partnership will allow the parties to utilize Dyno’s CapsidMap artificial intelligence platform along with Novartis expertise in gene therapy development and global commercialization to deliver innovative gene therapies to patients with serious diseases of the eye.
“We are delighted to be collaborating with Novartis,” Eric D. Kelsic, PhD, CEO and co‑founder of Dyno Therapeutics, said in a company news release. “Many eye diseases are ideally suited to being treated with gene therapies, and more opportunities can be opened with new and improved AAV vectors. With their extensive ophthalmologic expertise, Novartis is an ideal partner to leverage Dyno’s platform to design AI-powered vectors to expand the impact of gene therapies for ocular diseases. This collaboration is a major step forward in our plan to realize the potential of Dyno’s CapsidMap platform for gene therapies to improve patient health.”
Under the terms of the agreement, Dyno will be responsible for using AI technology and its suite of machine learning and experimental tools for the design and discovery of novel AAV capsids, the cell-targeting protein shell of viral vectors, with improved functional properties for gene therapy. Novartis will be responsible for conducting preclinical, clinical, and commercialization activities for the gene therapy product candidates created with the novel AAV capsids. Dyno will receive upfront consideration plus committed research funding and license fees. Additionally, Dyno will be eligible to receive clinical, regulatory and sales milestone payments. Dyno will also receive royalties on worldwide net sales of any commercial products developed through the partnership.
About CapsidMap for Designing AAV Gene Therapies
By designing capsids that confer improved functional properties to adeno-associated virus (AAV) vectors, Dyno’s proprietary CapsidMap platform overcomes the limitations of today’s gene therapies on the market and in development. Today’s treatments are primarily confined to a small number of naturally occurring AAV vectors that are limited by delivery, immunity, packaging size, and manufacturing challenges. CapsidMap uses artificial intelligence (AI) technology for the design of novel capsids, the cell-targeting protein shell of viral vectors. The CapsidMap platform applies DNA library synthesis and next generation DNA sequencing to measure in vivo gene delivery properties in high throughput. At the core of CapsidMap are advanced search algorithms leveraging machine learning and Dyno’s massive quantities of experimental data, that together build a comprehensive map of sequence space and thereby accelerate the discovery and optimization of synthetic AAV capsids.
Dyno’s technology platform builds on certain intellectual property developed in the lab of George Church, PhD, who is Robert Winthrop Professor of Genetics at Harvard Medical School (HMS), a Core Faculty member at Harvard’s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering, and a co-founder of Dyno. Several of the technical breakthroughs that enabled Dyno’s approach to optimize synthetic AAV capsid engineering were described in a November 2019 publication in the journal Science, based on work conducted by Dyno founders and members of the Church Lab at HMS and the Wyss Institute. Dyno has an exclusive option to enter into a license agreement with Harvard University for this technology.