Treeway, a biotechnological company based in the Netherlands, founded by Bernard Muller and Robbert Jan Stuit, who are both entrepreneurs and both diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), recently announced a collaboration with uniQure, a Dutch company specialized in gene therapy to develop a treatment for the disease.
UniQure and Treeway signed an exclusive licensing agreement that includes the intellectual property of uniQure’s groundbreaking AAV5 viral vector and GDNF (Glial cell-derived neurotrophic factor). The terms of the agreement state that Treeway will be responsible for both pre-clinical and clinical development of the ALS gene therapy, while uniQure’s manufacturing capabilities will be made available for Treeway. The two companies will work together on commercializing the resulting gene therapy for ALS, with specified geographical rights for its commercialization. Details regarding financial issues of the partnership were not fully disclosed.
Treeway’s Chief Executive Officer, Inez de Greef, is pleased and extremely satisfied with this collaboration; the co-marketing contract represents a major milestone in executing the company’s mission to come up with another treatment option for ALS. Greef said in a press release: “Gene therapy is an innovative and viable technology for developing an ALS therapy and has the potential to change the disease course of ALS. A collaboration between Treeway and uniQure will accelerate this development by bringing two unique companies together.”
UniQure’s Chief Executive Officer, Jörn Aldag, added: “We are impressed by the immense energy and will power of the Treeway founders in seeking a cure for ALS. We believe that by combining their disease know-how and uniQure’s gene therapy platform and expertise, we can jointly achieve a step forward in the way ALS is treated in the future”.
Notes About ALS Disease
About 5,600 people in the United States are diagnosed, each year, with ALS. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the disease’s prevalence rate is estimated to be 2 people in each 100,000 and 30,000 Americans. ALS can strike anyone and can incur enormous costs for medical care, medication, equipment and home health care-giving. At present, riluzole is the only FDA-approved treatment for ALS.