Business development is always a priority for CombiGene
This is an article from Ingenious number four 2019.
CombiGene’s activities revolve around the company’s two projects: CG01, which is being developed for treatment of drug-resistant focal epilepsy and the lipodystrophy project, which was inlicensed earlier this autumn. In addition to these projects, CombiGene also works continuously with business development to build and maintain relations with major pharma companies which may in future be suitable partners for taking CombiGene’s projects forward through late clinical studies and commercialization.
Ingenious met with CEO Jan Nilsson for a brief chat about business development.
Can you briefly describe how CombiGene pursues its business development?
“I can at least give it a try,” replies Jan. “Developing a drug takes a long time and always involves some form of financial risk. As far as the situation for us at CombiGene goes, the longer we spend working on our projects, the higher their potential value. When it comes to our CG01 epilepsy project, we have identified several possible big pharma partners with whom we have an ongoing dialogue. Quite simply, we take every opportunity we can to keep them updated on the progress of the project. Several companies have expressed a definite interest, but common to all is that they would prefer to see the results from studies in humans before entering into partnership. Not surprisingly, this is completely in line with the scenario we’ve always followed.” Jan pauses briefly. “Then, of course, there is another angle to our strategy, that is to say, we wish to inlicense research assets, which we will take to the preclinical phase and subsequently to studies in humans. The lipodystrophy project, which we inlicensed from Lipigon earlier this autumn, is one example.”
Can you give us a rundown on the activities CombiGene has participated in during the year?
“Gladly. 2019 has been an intensive year of business development. In April Annika Ericsson (Senior Project Manager) and I attended the Cell & Gene Meeting on the Med in Barcelona, Spain, where we met several contract research organizations, some representatives from large pharmaceutical companies, and several life science investors. In April Karin Agerman (Chief Research and Development Officer) was invited to speak at the Swedish 4th Annual ATMP Conference in Gothenburg, where she gave a much appreciated presentation entitled Turning research into clinical use – gene therapy for treatment-resistant epilepsy. In May I was invited to speak at AstraZeneca’s conference AZ Exchange, and in June CombiGene’s chairman Arne Ferstad and I attended BIO 2019 in Philadelphia, USA, where we met with potential partners, investors and an American patient organization. I rounded off the autumn with a visit to NLS Days on 10-12 September in Malmö, where I had several interesting meetings with investors and big pharma companies. In November I also attended BioEurope in Hamburg, with further meetings with investors and major pharma companies.”
Just as Jan is concluding, Karin Agerman and Annika Ericsson look into the room.
“Don’t forget that I gave a presentation on CombiGene at Biotech-Hanse Forum 2019 on June13th in Stockholm,” says Annika. “And Annika and I were at the annual European Society of Gene and Cell Therapy conference (ESGCT) in Barcelona in October,” adds Karin.
That sounds like an intensive year.
“In many ways it has been, but that’s how it is. At CombiGene we take every opportunity to meet companies that interest us and could one day be partners. Putting an outlicensing deal together takes a long time and demands continuous communication. At the same time, it’s tremendously stimulating and even more fun the farther we get with our projects.”
CombiGene’s lead project CG01 has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 823282”
CombiGene’s vision is to provide patients affected by severe life-altering diseases with the prospect of a better life through novel gene therapies. CombiGene’s business concept is to develop effective gene therapies for severe life-altering diseases where adequate treatment is currently lacking. Development assets are sourced from an external research network and developed to achieve clinical proof of concept. Drug candidates for common diseases will be co-developed and commercialized through strategic partnerships, while the company may manage this process on its own for drugs targeting niched patient populations. The company is public and listed on the Swedish marketplace Nasdaq First North Growth Market and the company’s Certified Advisor is FNCA Sweden AB, +46 (0)852 80 03 99 email@example.com.