Novartis and Biogen Terminate Gene Regulation Collaboration with Sangamo

Friday was a devastating day for Sangamo Therapeutics, as two of their most powerful partners, Novartis and Biogen, announced that they were ending their collaborations in the neurology space. These partnerships were for the research and development of gene regulation therapies, which Sangamo Therapeutics had been banking on to propel their business forward.

Biogen and Novartis have decided to end their collaboration agreements with Sangamo as of June 2023, following a strategic review. The news was revealed in Sangamo’s SEC filing posted on Mar. 13.

Sangamo is undertaking a comprehensive evaluation of its pre-clinical assets, exploring all possible pathways to develop the programs that were abandoned by Biogen and Novartis. The result of this review could lead to an internal effort to further progress these programs, or Sangamo may seek external partnerships to move them forward.

Neither Novartis nor Biogen have broken their silence in response to BioSpace’s request for comment. Despite the attempted contact, no statement has been made by either company.

Sangamo ended 2022 with $307.5 million in cash, cash equivalents and marketable securities, a significant decline from the $464.7 million it had at the start of the year. Despite this, the company maintained that its funds would be enough to keep operations running for the next 12 months.

Sangamo representatives have declared that the end of the Novartis and Biogen collaborations will not have any negative impact on its financial situation.

Zinc Finger Partnerships

Sangamo and Biogen joined forces in February 2020, in a deal that would revolutionize the world of neuroscience. The two companies signed an agreement that saw Biogen pay $350 million upfront, with the potential to reach $2.37 billion in milestone payments.

Sangamo’s cutting-edge genome regulation technology will be used to develop treatments for up to twelve neurological and neuromuscular conditions, providing hope for those suffering from these conditions.

Biogen has chosen four new candidates to treat neurological diseases. ST-501 is intended for tauopathies, ST-502 is for synucleinopathies, including Parkinson’s disease, while a third product is designed to tackle type 1 myotonic dystrophy. The fourth candidate is still undisclosed, but promises to help with another neurological disease.

In a groundbreaking deal, Sangamo and Novartis have joined forces to create innovative gene regulation therapies for three neurodevelopmental disorders, including autism spectrum disorder. The agreement is worth up to $795 million and includes an upfront payment of $75 million, as well as potential developmental and commercial milestones. This exciting collaboration will no doubt have a positive impact on the lives of those affected by these conditions.

Sangamo’s partnership with Biogen and Novartis has come to an end, meaning that no further milestones or royalties will be received, and any research activities related to the neuro programs will no longer be reimbursed. The effective termination dates mark the end of an era for Sangamo and its partners.

At the heart of the Biogen and Novartis collaborations lies Sangamo’s innovative zinc finger technology. This ingenious combination of a DNA-binding domain and specialized functional domains such as nucleases and transcription factors, has opened up a world of possibilities to the medical field.

Sangamo boasts an expansive library of zinc fingers, enabling the company to craft bespoke solutions for all manner of therapeutic applications. With thousands of options at their disposal, they are uniquely positioned to create the perfect candidate for any project.

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