UCB acquires gene therapy specialist Handl Therapeutics
Company also announces new collaboration with Lacerta Therapeutics
UCB has announced its acquisition of Belgium-based gene therapy company Handl Therapeutics, in a move that will bolster its pipeline programmes, capabilities and platforms in the gene therapy space.
UCB also announced a new collaboration with Lacerta Therapeutics, a clinical stage gene therapy company based in Florida, US.
Handl Therapeutics is focused on creating disease modifying in vivo gene therapies to treat neurodegenerative disease through proprietary adeno-associated virus (AAV) capsid technology.
According to UCB, Handl has a strong international network which enables access to global capabilities and expertise – the company combines technology platforms and scientific advances licenced from KU Leuven (Belgium), Centre for Applied Medical Research (CIMA Universidad de Navarra, Spain), University of Chile (Chile) and King’s College London (UK).
Following the acquisition by UCB, the Handl Therapeutics team will continue to be based in Leuven, Belgium while working closely with UCB’s international research teams.
In addition to its acquisition of Handl Therapeutics, UCB has also signed a research collaboration and licensing agreement with Lacerta Therapeutics.
The focus of this agreement is to make AAV-based therapies for central nervous system (CNS) diseases with high unmet need.
Lacerta is set to lead the research, preclinical activities and early manufacturing process development, while UCB will lead IND-enabling studies, manufacturing and clinical development.
“The acquisition of Handl Therapeutics and the new partnership with Lacerta Therapeutics offers us the potential to drive a fundamental change in how diseases are treated, by moving us from treating symptoms to disease modification and eventually towards a cure,” said Dhavalkumar Patel, chief scientific officer of UCB.
“We are delighted to be able to welcome a rich diversity of talent and expertise from both Handl Therapeutics and Lacerta Therapeutics. With their deep and wide-ranging knowledge, novel gene therapy platforms and drive for innovation, I am confident that together we will transform the lives of people living with severe neurodegenerative diseases,” he added.