Asklepios Biopharmaceutical has landed drug giant Bayer HealthCare LLC as a partner to jointly develop a gene-therapy based treatment of hemophilia B.

Asklepios is already working on what it calls a “synthetically designed biological nano particle” gene therapy. The company believes the therapy will produce more of the clotting factors needed to reduce spontaneous bleeding and reduce or eliminate the need for injections of clotting factors in patients suffering from hemophilia B.

Nano particle research is also being used in a proposed treatment for muscular dystrophy. A Phase I clinical trial is scheduled later this year.

“Because gene therapy may offer the potential for a cure in hemophilia, it represents the ultimate opportunity to provide patients the freedom to fulfill their aspirations and live the lives they choose,” said Joseph Akers, president of Bayer Biological Products, in a statement.

Asklepios, which is also known as AskBio, said it and Bayer have reached undisclosed terms on an “early-stage research and collaboration agreement” to examine gene therapy that “could lead to a joint development and commercialization agreement”.

“This important collaboration facilitates the first steps toward a combined platform of expertise and resources jointly focused on advancing care for the global hemophilia community,” said Sheila Mikhail, chief executive officer of AskBio, in a statement.

Some 400,000 people suffer from hemophilia around the world.
Michael Fournel, senior vice president of Research and Development at Bayer BP, said that Bayer BP has its own experience in nano particle research. “The agreement builds on our past extensive work in this area,” he said. “The BNP technology represents the most advanced vector for delivering gene therapy, and we are anxious to determine its potential for clinical development.”