GSK and Orchard Therapeutics, a clinical-stage gene therapy company based in the United Kingdom and United States, announced a strategic agreement, under which GSK will transfer its portfolio of approved and investigational rare disease gene therapies to Orchard, securing the continued development of the programmes and access for patients.
Under the agreement, GSK will become an investor in Orchard Therapeutics, receiving a 19.9% equity stake along with a seat on the company’s board. GSK will also receive financial considerations in the form of royalties and commercial milestone payments related to the acquired portfolio. GSK and Orchard will exchange manufacturing, technical and commercial insights and learnings on the development of gene therapy medicines to ensure the success of the assets.
The portfolio of gene therapy programmes Orchard has acquired includes: Strimvelis, the first autologous ex vivo gene therapy for children with adenosine deaminase severe combined immunodeficiency (ADA-SCID), approved by the EMA in 2016, two late-stage clinical programmes in ongoing registrational studies for metachromatic leukodystrophy (MLD) and Wiskott Aldrich syndrome (WAS), and one clinical programme for beta thalassaemia. Orchard will also acquire rights to exclusively license three additional preclinical programmes from Telethon/Ospedale San Raffaele upon completion of clinical proof of concept studies for mucopolysaccharidosis type 1 (MPS1 or Hurler syndrome), chronic granulomatous disease (CGD) and globoid cell leukodystrophy (GLD).
In order to support a smooth transition of these programmes with minimal disruption to the projects, both companies have agreed to a transition period during which GSK will continue to conduct certain activities through to the end of 2018.
This acquisition strengthens Orchard’s position as a global leader in gene therapy for rare diseases. GSK will continue to invest in the development of its platform capabilities in cell and gene therapies, with a focus on oncology.