Home Interviews CombiGene: “We continue to believe in the epilepsy project CG01”

CombiGene: “We continue to believe in the epilepsy project CG01”

CombiGene: "We continue to believe in the epilepsy project CG01"

CombiGene: “We continue to believe in the epilepsy project CG01”

16 January, 2024

CombiGene has regained the global rights to the epilepsy project CG01 from Spark Therapeutics after the collaboration agreement was terminated last year. BioStock reached out to CombiGene’s CEO, Peter Ekolind, for a comment on the plans to continue the project.

CombiGene’s drug candidate CG01 is being developed as a new treatment for drug-resistant focal epilepsy, a disease that affects approximately 47,000 patients annually in the US, EU4, UK, Japan and China. Today’s treatment options are only symptom-relieving and require lifelong administration. CG01, on the other hand, has the potential to cure the disease after only one or two treatment sessions.

Multi-million contract signed in 2021

In 2021, following a series of convincing preclinical data, CombiGene was able to sign an agreement with the American gene therapy company Spark Therapeutics. The deal gave Spark an exclusive global license to develop, manufacture and commercialise CG01. Meanwhile, for CombiGene, it meant potential compensation of up to USD 328.5 million excluding royalties. USD 8.5 million was received in connection with the signing, and a total of up to USD 50 million would be received at preclinical and clinical milestones. It was thus a comprehensive agreement also from an international industry perspective, and it validates the company’s ability to out-license to global pharmaceutical companies.

Comments from the CEO

BioStock contacted CombiGene’s CEO Peter Ekolind, who took up the position a month before the contract was terminated, to find out what the plans are for continuing the project.

CombiGene comments on Eurostars funding
Peter Ekolind, CEO CombiGene

Peter, what is your interpretation of why Spark chose to terminate the collaboration?

– The reason why Spark chose to terminate the collaboration is due to a strategic audit of the company’s pipeline and not because CG01 would not be a drug candidate that can’t be developed.

You have the ambition to find a new partner for the CG01 project. What specific steps will you take in the future and how do you plan to make the project attractive to potential partners?

– First, we will analyse the data generated at Spark over the past two years of work and then compile this into a package that we will be able to present to potential partners who have a strategic interest in gene therapy in epilepsy.

What are your expectations for the project going forward?

– If we can find a new taker for CG01, it would provide an opportunity to eventually reach out to patients who are not helped by current drug treatment and who still get epileptic seizures. We continue to believe in the epilepsy project CG01, not least due to our preclinical data.

The content of BioStock’s news and analyses is independent but the work of BioStock is to a certain degree financed by life science companies. The above article concerns a company from which BioStock has received financing.

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