Pacira BioSciences Announces Equity Investment in GeneQuine Biotherapeutics
Pacira BioSciences, Inc. recently announced that the company will lead an equity investment in GeneQuine Biotherapeutics GmbH. Under the terms of the agreement, Pacira will make an initial investment of €2.0 million with an additional €4.0 million investment predicated upon GeneQuine achieving certain prespecified near-term milestones related to its lead gene therapy product candidate, GQ-303. Up to €2.5 million of the total Pacira investment will be in the form of a convertible note. In addition, Pacira is entitled to appoint one member to GeneQuine’s board of directors.
“Our equity investment in GeneQuine represents a significant opportunity to participate in the development of what we believe is an exciting disease-modifying gene therapy for osteoarthritis. GeneQuine is conducting preclinical work to support the initiation of human studies in approximately 2 years. In addition to our confidence in this transaction as a sound investment, we enthusiastically look forward to the maturation of data and for further opportunity to participate in GeneQuine’s successful preclinical program and entry into the clinic. Importantly, this investment is consistent with our mission to advance innovative pain management and regenerative health solutions,” said Ron Ellis, DO, Senior Vice President of Corporate Strategy and Business Development at Pacira BioSciences.
GeneQuine Biotherapeutics is a privately held biopharmaceutical company headquartered in Hamburg, Germany, that is advancing a gene therapy platform for the treatment of osteoarthritis (OA) and other musculoskeletal disorders. GeneQuine’s product candidates are next-generation gene transfer vehicles. These gene therapy vectors are highly efficient in entering joint cells to confer multi-year gene expression. Safety of this platform has been demonstrated in several species and is currently being evaluated in an ongoing Phase 1 study.
GQ-303 and its analogs are currently in preclinical development as a treatment for OA. These helper-dependent adenoviral gene therapy vectors express proteoglycan 4 (PRG4), a protein that plays an important physiological role in regulating OA through lubrication and decreased pain, inflammation and cartilage degeneration. After intra-articular injection, the vector enters joint cells and turns them into factories to produce sustained therapeutic levels of PRG4 to restore joint homeostasis and provide long-lasting improvement in joint function and pain relief, which has been demonstrated in several in vivo OA models.
Perkins Coie LLP is acting as legal advisor to Pacira in connection with the transaction along with Vogel Heerma Waitz as local advisor.
Pacira BioSciences, Inc. is the leading provider of non-opioid pain management and regenerative health solutions dedicated to advancing and improving outcomes for health care practitioners and their patients. The company’s long-acting local analgesic, EXPAREL (bupivacaine liposome injectable suspension) was commercially launched in the United States in April 2012. EXPAREL utilizes DepoFoam, a unique and proprietary product delivery technology that encapsulates drugs without altering their molecular structure, and releases them over a desired period of time. In April 2019, Pacira acquired the iovera system, a hand-held cryoanalgesia device used to deliver precise, controlled doses of cold temperature only to targeted nerves. For more information, visit www.pacira.com.
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