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Aptamer Group Signs Deal with Flip Gene Therapeutics to Support the Development of Inducible Gene Therapies

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Aptamer Group plc (AIM: APTA), the developer of novel Optimer® binders to enable innovation in the life sciences industry, has negotiated a deal with the biotechnology company Flip Gene Therapeutics to support its novel, inducible gene therapy platform with the use of Optimer technology.

The agreement will see Aptamer Group develop Optimer binders to several small molecule targets. The developed Optimers will be incorporated into the partner’s gene therapy platform with the goal of developing pharmacologically inducible gene therapeutics controllable with a gene switch.

Gene therapies are an innovative class of therapeutics which treat diseases and conditions through the delivery of genetic material. A wave of recent progress has reinforced the potential of the approach; however, major gene therapy platforms do not allow for precise control of gene expression after the therapy is administered. The use of the Optimer binders as a component of a gene switch in a gene therapeutic could enable responsive gene expression that could be controlled by dosing certain small molecule drugs.

The commercial terms of the agreement include initial upfront payments for Optimer development, with the potential for further licensing payments for the developed Optimer binders, and development and commercial milestone payments upon clinical and commercial success.

Optimer binders are oligonucleotide-based affinity ligands. The Optimer platform consists of three parallel target-type specific discovery processes for small molecules, proteins and peptides and cell targets. Delivering the potential for increased success in discovery over a broader target range and the ability to tune their half-life, they offer a much-needed solution to support novel gene therapy development.

Dr Arron Tolley, CEO of Aptamer Group said: ‘I am delighted to have established this agreement to develop Optimer binders to enable inducible treatments in this exciting field of gene therapy. We will be working closely with our partner Flip Gene Therapeutics on developing and assessing the Optimer binders to function as part of their gene therapy platform. The interest in pursuing Optimer binders as part of their therapeutic modality offers a strong endorsement of the technology.’

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