Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. (Reuters: SUN.BO, Bloomberg: SUNP IN, NSE: SUNPHARMA, BSE: 524715), an international specialty pharmaceutical company focused on chronic diseases, through its subsidiary, and Intrexon Corporation (NYSE: XON), a leader in synthetic biology, today announced the formation of a joint venture to develop controllable gene-based therapies for the treatment of ocular diseases that cause partial or total blindness in millions of people worldwide. Initial targets are dry age-related macular degeneration (AMD), glaucoma and retinitis pigmentosa.
The joint venture will leverage Sun Pharma's global capabilities and experience in developing and manufacturing complex dosage forms and specialty pharmaceuticals for niche therapy areas. Intrexon and Sun Pharma will share in both the financing of, and the revenues from, the joint venture.
Through an Exclusive Channel Collaboration (ECC), the joint venture will have access to Intrexon's full suite of proprietary synthetic biology technologies, including the RheoSwitch Therapeutic System® (RTS®) platform. RTS® is a clinically validated method for controlling the location, concentration and timing of protein expression. RTS® may address a long-standing limitation of current approaches by enabling patients to receive a targeted biologic therapy without having to endure a lifetime of injections.
In addition to the initial targets, the companies intend to further expand the future pipeline of targeted ocular diseases to potentially include wet AMD, macular edema, non-infectious uveitis and diabetic retinopathy.
Samuel Broder, M.D., Senior Vice President of Intrexon's Health Sector and former Director of the National Cancer Institute, noted that current treatments for major ocular disorders require frequent and often painful interventions that, at best, only slow the progression of the disease.
"Using our RTS® platform, the goal is to engineer a gene-based ocular treatment in which the concentration, location and timing of protein expression can be controlled with small molecule therapy," Dr. Broder said. "In combination with Sun Pharma's tremendous development and manufacturing experience, we hope to produce a therapy that is minimally invasive as well as maximally effective in treating these debilitating diseases."