Tech Transfer eNews Blog

Case Western and Boston-based Akouos enter license agreement to commercialize treatment for Usher syndrome


By Jesse Schwartz
Published: September 11th, 2019

Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) and Akouos, a Boston-based precision genetic medicine company, have signed an exclusive licensing agreement to develop and commercialize a potential treatment for Usher syndrome.

Developed in the lab of CWRU researcher Kumar Alagramam, the technology may stop the progression of hearing loss and prevent deafness in patients with Usher syndrome, the most common deaf-blind disorder. The licensed therapy focuses on Usher syndrome type 3A (USH3A), a form of hereditary hearing loss linked to defects in the sensory “hair” cells in the inner ear.

“The technology allowed us to develop an even more precise animal model of hearing loss associated with [USH3A] than previously reported, and it revealed the potential for the technology to deliver preservation of hearing and quality of life for children and adults diagnosed with the genetic disorder,” says Alagramam. “Further, lessons learned from this technology could be applied to gene therapy as a potential treatment for other forms of inherited hearing loss.”

Akouos licensed the rights to commercialize the technology in the U.S. following additional development efforts and pending safety and efficacy tests in future trials.

“With no FDA-approved medicines available for the millions of individuals worldwide with genetically driven hearing loss or deaf-blind disorders, it is imperative that companies, academic research institutions and advocacy organizations work together and accelerate toward creative solutions,” says Manny Simons, founder, president and CEO of Akouos. “Our collaboration with Dr. Alagramam and Case Western Reserve aims to advance the field of precision genetic medicines for deaf-blind disorders, such as Usher syndrome.”

Stephanie Weidenbecher, senior licensing manager at the CWRU Technology Transfer Office, comments, “Partnering with with Akouos provides an excellent opportunity for us to translate this to the first potential therapy to prevent hearing loss caused by Usher syndrome.”

Source: the daily

Posted under: Tech Transfer e-News

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