Agreement grants Freeline rights to develop and commercialise AAV gene therapies using cardiac protein genes identified by Forcefield
London UK, 4 April 2023
Forcefield Therapeutics (“Forcefield”) Ltd, a pioneer of best-in-class therapeutics to protect heart function by arresting the loss of cardiomyocytes following myocardial infarction, and Freeline Therapeutics have entered into an exclusive patent and know-how license agreement. Under the terms of the agreement, Freeline gains rights to develop and commercialise AAV gene therapies for certain cardiac conditions using key targets identified by Forcefield.
Forcefield will receive an upfront payment of £500,000 and is entitled to certain development and regulatory milestone payments and a mid-single-digit percentage royalty on net sales of any potential products.
The agreement centres around the use of gene products identified by FunSel, a genetic ‘search engine’. These gene products have been shown in preclinical AAV gene therapy models to minimise damage and preserve heart function after myocardial infarction. Positive preclinical data published last year in Science Translational Medicine demonstrated the gene products preserved cardiomyocyte viability, sustained cardiac function and prevented pathological remodelling.
Dan Gliddon, Chief Operating Officer of Forcefield Therapeutics, commented:
“Forcefield’s expertise in cardiac biology offers Freeline an opportunity to leverage its AAV expertise in gene therapy in cardiac development. This validates Forcefield’s cardiac expertise and broadens the potential application of our discoveries beyond our proprietary program in myocardial infarction and into other indications.”
Michael Parini, Chief Executive Officer of Freeline Therapeutics, said:
“We are excited about the opportunity to work with Forcefield to combine their unique insights into cardiac disease with our leading capabilities in gene therapy and protein engineering. Moving beyond rare diseases to use novel gene therapies to address serious chronic disease is a strategic research priority for Freeline, and this agreement jumpstarts our research efforts to make to help make that vision a reality.”
Professor Mauro Giacca, Forcefield Therapeutics’ founder and board member, added:
“We have compelling preclinical data that show novel genetic therapies offer the potential to revolutionise the treatment of cardiac diseases. I’m really excited by the potential to collaborate with Freeline, a leader in AAV therapy, as we seek to bring these to patients.”
Notes to Editors
About Forcefield Therapeutics Ltd.
Forcefield Therapeutics Ltd (Forcefield Tx) is a pioneer of best-in-class therapeutics to retain heart function via protection of cardiomyocytes.
Forcefield Tx was founded by scientists, industry experts and investors with a shared purpose to revolutionise treatment following acute myocardial infarction (AMI). Forcefield’s unique approach can both retain and protect heart cells, minimising the impact of AMI and preventing the cascade of events that may lead to subsequent heart failure. Forcefield Tx is led by a proven team with a record of success from discovery to commercialisation. It launched in April 2022, backed by leading FTSE 250 healthcare company, Syncona with an initial investment of £5.5 million. For more information please visit: forcefieldtx.com.
FunSel is a proprietary in vivo ‘gene therapy search engine’ developed by Purespring Therapeutics’ co-founder Professor Mauro Giacca, Professor of Cardiovascular Sciences at King’s College, London.
FunSel is ‘gene agnostic’: unconstrained by genetics and therefore does not rely on knowledge of which gene is causing a disease. It allows ‘functional selection’ of therapeutic factors for disease phenotype correction. FunSel contains a library of thousands of AAV vectors encoding secreted proteins.
Because it is gene agnostic, FunSel offers potential to allow the application of gene therapy to non-monogenic disorders and treat much broader patient populations.
The platform has already been instrumental in the creation of Purespring Therapeutics and sister company Forcefield Therapeutics, a pioneer of best-in-class therapeutics to protect heart function and has broad potential for researchers developing gene therapy in many disease areas. It provides Purespring with opportunities to support industry peers through partnering and potential collaborations.
Dan Gliddon, Chief Operating Officer
+44 (0)20 3855 6324
Consilium Strategic Communications
Amber Fennell, Jessica Hodgson, Genevieve Wilson
+44 (0)203 709 5700