Sensorion (Paris:ALSEN) (FR0012596468 – ALSEN), a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company which is described as specializing in the development of therapies to restore, treat, and prevent inner ear diseases, announced the signature of a research partnership framework agreement with Institut Pasteur (Paris) granting to Sensorion an option to obtain exclusive licenses to develop and market drug candidates in gene therapy coming from collaborative projects, for the restoration, treatment, and prevention of hearing disorders.

In accordance with the letter of intent for collaboration announced November 23, 2018, Sensorion and Institut Pasteur have leveraged the last 6 months to reach a partnership framework agreement. This agreement provides for, after completion of a research program, an exclusive option to obtain licenses. The terms of the licenses are predefined for two specific programs aiming at correcting hereditary monogenic forms of deafness including Usher Type 1 and deafness caused by a mutation of the gene encoding otoferlin. As for the other projects in the field of hereditary monogenic forms of deafness, the terms of the licences will be negotiated in light of the results of the research programs. Lastly, Sensorion has preference rights on Institut Pasteur’s research programs in the field of genetic inner ear diseases in order to set up collaborations.

In the event of a change of control of Sensorion that has not been approved by the Sensorion Board of Directors, Institut Pasteur has the right to terminate the partnership framework agreement.

The Genetics and Physiology of the Hearing Unit of Institut Pasteur, led by Professor Christine Petit, has developed world-class expertise over the last 25 years in the molecular physiology and physiopathology of the hearing system. Recent advances have led to the development of gene therapy programs to treat monogenic form of inner ear diseases. Researchers, including the Institut Pasteur team, have managed to restore hearing in a mouse model of DFNB9 (otoferlin) deafness, a hearing disorder that is reportedly one of the most common cases of congenital genetic deafness. This work was published in a scientific journal.

“I am particularly pleased by this agreement signed between Institut Pasteur and Sensorion,” said Petit. “It will allow us to transform our scientific progress into innovations for the benefit of patients, whether it is by contributing to create new diagnostic tools, improving patients’ healthcare pathway, or developing curative treatments for hearing disorders.” Professor Christine Petit, MD, PhD, who chairs Sensorion’s Scientific Advisory Board, is an internationally renowned geneticist and neurobiologist in the field of hearing.

Christine Petit, MD, PhD

Christine Petit, MD, PhD

“We believe that the scientific work undertaken by Christine Petit’s teams is of great interest for public health and for the foundations of a field that is, unfortunately, of increasing concern,” said Dr Isabelle Buckle, head of research applications and industrial relations at Institut Pasteur. “We are delighted to work with Sensorion, a dynamic French company with the strengths to allow Institut Pasteur to fulfill one of its missions, ie, to transform its first-class academic research into products aiding patients alongside socioeconomic partners.”

“This agreement confirms Sensorion’s strategic relationship with the internationally renowned scientists from Institut Pasteur and I am very pleased about this,” said Nawal Ouzren, Sensorion CEO. “This is a great milestone for Sensorion, that enables us to develop the broadest pipeline with therapeutic solutions to prevent, treat, and restore inner ear diseases. In addition to the two drug candidates in development, SENS-111 and SENS-401, we are now adding innovative drug candidates in gene therapy allowing us to offer relevant medical solutions to treat disabling inner ear diseases.”

Original Paper: Akil O, Dyka F, Calvet C, et al. Dual AAV-mediated gene therapy restores hearing in a DFNB9 mouse modelPNAS. 2019;116(10):4496-4501.

Source: Sensorion, PNAS