Biogen Idec (NASDAQ: BIIB) and Sangamo BioSciences, Inc. (NASDAQ: SGMO) announced today an exclusive worldwide collaboration and license agreement focused on the development of therapeutics for hemoglobinopathies, inherited conditions that result from the abnormal structure or underproduction of hemoglobin. The agreement will enable Biogen Idec to further enhance its expertise in non-malignant hematology by leveraging Sangamo's proprietary genome-editing technology platform to develop treatments targeting sickle cell disease (SCD) and beta-thalassemia.
"Our collaboration with Sangamo is expected to help us expand our capabilities to develop treatments for people with serious, inherited hematologic conditions," said Douglas E. Williams, Ph.D., Biogen Idec's executive vice president of research and development. "Building upon emerging science related to fetal hemoglobin regulation, we intend to develop Sangamo's novel gene-editing technology to create a single approach that has the potential to functionally cure both sickle cell disease and beta-thalassemia."
Sangamo's proprietary zinc finger nuclease (ZFN) genome-editing technology enables multiple pathways to treat SCD and beta-thalassemia. The technology can be used to precisely target and knock out key regulators of gene expression, or can be used to precisely insert a new corrective gene to replace the defective copy.
"We are delighted to partner our hemoglobinopathies programs with Biogen Idec," said Edward Lanphier, Sangamo's president and chief executive officer. "Biogen Idec is a leader in drug development and has a history of successfully translating cutting edge science into treatments that provide life-changing clinical benefit for patients. This alliance is further validation of our ZFP platform as a transformative technology and accelerates our goal of developing a novel class of therapeutics which has the potential to revolutionize the treatment of genetic diseases."