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UCB strengthens its gene therapy activities

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    UCB’s ambition for patients relies on our ability to innovate and deliver highly differentiated medicines with unique outcomes. Today’s announcement of the acquisition of Handl Therapeutics BV and our new R&D partnership with Lacerta Therapeutics is great news as it advances our ability to develop novel treatments using state of the art gene therapy techniques.

    UCB has a vision to move from symptomatic treatments to disease modification and eventually towards a cure. AAV-mediated gene therapy offers to deliver that potential and drive a fundamental change in how diseases are treated with the ability to remove or add disease-related proteins with a single treatment.  A vast array of diseases are amenable to gene therapy and UCB is embracing this modality to expand its capabilities and ultimately transform the lives of patients with severe diseases.

    Handl Therapeutics BV is a Belgium born, transformative gene therapy company with a vision to deploy the power of disease modifying in vivo gene therapy to treat complex neurodegenerative diseases. Operating in a highly collaborative manner, the company has built a strong international network to access global capabilities and expertise. To this end, it combines state of the art technology platforms and scientific advances licenced from KU Leuven (Belgium), Centre for Applied Medical Research (CIMA Universidad de Navarra, Spain), University of Chile (Chile) and King’s College London (UK) to address unmet medical needs. The team will continue to be based in Leuven, Belgium, and will work very closely with UCB’s international research teams.

    The research collaboration with Lacerta Therapeutics will focus on the development of a gene therapy treatment for a central nervous system disorder with a high unmet need. Lacerta will lead research, preclinical activities and the early manufacturing process development, while UCB will complete IND-enabling studies, manufacturing and clinical development. This new collaboration will allow UCB to access Lacerta Therapeutics’ expertise in AAV-based CNS targeted gene therapies, fortifying UCB’s ability to produce effective treatments for neurodegenerative diseases.

    These two new strategic investments, along with UCB’s acquisition of Element Genomics in 2018, support and accelerate our long-term goal to drive a fundamental change in how diseases are treated, by moving from treating symptoms to disease modification and eventually, towards a cure for several severe chronic diseases.

    We would like to give a warm welcome to our new colleagues and partners and look forward to an exciting and successful future together.

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