Pharma Focus Asia

Spark Therapeutics Enters Collaboration with Senti Bio to Bolster Industry-Leading Gene Therapy Research Platform

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Spark Therapeutics, a member of the Roche Group and a fully integrated, commercial gene therapy company dedicated to challenging the inevitability of genetic disease, today announced a collaboration and option agreement with Senti Biosciences, a leading gene circuit company, to apply Senti Bio’s gene circuit technology to the development of next-generation precision gene therapies directed toward specific cell types in the central nervous system (CNS), eye or liver. Created from novel and proprietary combinations of DNA sequences, gene circuits reprogram cells with biological logic to sense inputs, compute decisions and respond to their environments for defined therapeutic applications.

“As the leader in gene therapy, we are constantly evaluating emerging technologies to complement our in-house expertise and welcome collaborations with innovators like Senti Bio, which we hope will further accelerate our efforts to unlock the full potential of gene therapy for patients living with genetic disease,” said Joseph La Barge, chief business officer, Spark Therapeutics.

Senti Bio’s gene circuit technologies include high-throughput approaches to design and test highly potent and specific Smart Sensors that are responsive to cell-type- and/or cell-state-specific biomarkers. These Smart Sensors include synthetic promoters, which are compact DNA sequences engineered to moreprecisely regulate the expression of therapeutic genes. Spark Therapeutics will apply Senti Bio’s Smart Sensors gene circuit platform towards the goal of developing gene therapies that achieve cell type- or disease-selective expression of therapeutic payloads.

“Breaking barriers for patients living with genetic disease requires evaluating opportunities to further our proven gene therapy platform, and we are thrilled to collaborate with Senti Bio, which is at the forefront of using synthetic biology to engineer gene circuits to create therapies with enhanced therapeutic properties that increase efficacy, precision and control,” said Federico Mingozzi, Ph.D., chief scientific officer, Spark Therapeutics. “We look forward to leveraging Senti Bio’s high-throughput synthetic promoter capabilities to develop novel gene therapies directed toward specific cell types in the central nervous system, eye or liver.”

Under the terms of the agreement, Senti Bio will be responsible for designing, building and testing cell type- and disease specific-synthetic promoters for use in developing certain CNS, eye or liver-directed gene therapies. Spark Therapeutics will receive the option to exclusively license a defined number of synthetic promoters emerging from the collaboration for use in developing gene therapy products in specified indications. Upon option exercise, Spark Therapeutics will be responsible for conducting preclinical, clinical and commercialization activities for any gene therapy candidates that incorporate Senti Bio’s licensed synthetic promoters.

Senti Bio will receive an upfront payment as well as funding to support its research activities, and upon option exercise will be eligible to receive an option exercise payment as well as development, regulatory and sales milestone payments in addition to royalties on a per product basis. The aggregate potential value of upfront, opt-in and milestone payments to Senti Bio may exceed $645 million.


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