Avalanche and Lonza sign global manufacturing deal


For adeno-associated viral vectors for gene therapy

Avalanche Biotechnologies, a US developer of technologies and products for long-term delivery of proteins for ocular diseases, has signed a manufacturing collaboration with Lonza of Switzerland.

The agreement will focus on process development and scale-up efforts for the manufacturing of adeno-associated viral (AAV) vectors based on a novel technology that uses stable baculovirus for gene therapy.

This technology was licensed by Avalanche from Virovek, the Californian developer who will also play a key role in the collaboration.

Avalanche says AAV vectors are becoming a promising gene delivery vehicle for the treatment of various diseases including inherited retinal disorders, age-related macular degeneration (AMD), haemophilia B, congestive heart failure, Parkinson’s disease and others.

Financial details were not disclosed.

As part of the agreement, Avalanche and Lonza will make the technology available to third parties and share in the revenue.

‘Lonza’s viral-based therapeutic business specialises in the development, GMP production, and fill and finish of multiple classes of viral vaccines and viral vector-delivered therapeutics,’ said David Enloe, Lonza’s head of viral-based therapeutics.

‘With our recent expansion of additional GMP suites that will increase working volumes up to 2,000L, we are poised for the growth we have seen in this sector.’

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AAV is a naturally occurring virus that is not associated with any disease in humans. AAV-based vectors efficiently deliver genes or RNAi to numerous cell types at up to 100% efficiency. They are considered highly effective due to their high safety profile, lack of toxicity and ability efficiently to transduce and achieve long-term expression without integration in a wide range of tissues.