Arbutus Biopharma Corporation and Roivant Sciences entered into an agreement to launch Genevant Sciences, a jointly-owned company focused on the discovery, development, and commercialization of a broad range of RNA-based therapeutics enabled by Arbutus’ proprietary lipid nanoparticle (LNP) and ligand conjugate delivery technologies.
Arbutus will license exclusive rights to its LNP and ligand conjugate delivery platforms to Genevant for RNA-based applications outside of Hepatitis B virus. Through its expert team and dominant intellectual property in RNA delivery, Genevant plans to develop products in-house and pursue industry partnerships to build a diverse pipeline of therapeutics across multiple modalities, including RNAi, mRNA, and gene editing.
The industry-leading LNP platform developed by Arbutus is the only clinically-validated LNP delivery technology with safety and efficacy evaluated in over 400 patients across multiple clinical programs. It is the first and only LNP platform to enable an approved therapy, and has enabled a second NDA filing through its licensed use by Alnylam Pharmaceuticals for the delivery of patisiran, a therapy to treat patients with hereditary ATTR amyloidosis. This platform is protected by over 125 international patent families. Genevant will also receive a license to a proprietary ligand conjugate technology developed by Arbutus to enable subcutaneous delivery of RNA-based therapeutics.
Biopharmaceutical companies developing nucleic acid therapeutics today include companies singularly focused on individual treatment modalities. Through its proprietary delivery platforms, Genevant is able to pursue mRNA, RNAi, and gene editing modalities and select the optimal approach for any given disease. By 2020, Genevant aims to have 5 to 10 RNA programs in the clinic targeting a range of genetic disorders with limited or no treatment options.
Genevant intends to establish its US headquarters in Cambridge, Massachusetts and its principal operating company in Basel, Switzerland. Genevant will also establish its R&D Center of Excellence in Burnaby, British Columbia (Canada) with a team of core scientists from Arbutus who will join Genevant as part of the transaction. This scientific team has decades of experience in developing RNA therapeutics and delivery technologies.