USA —In a notable development, Regeneron has announced its acquisition of Decibel Therapeutics for US$109 million, a move that enhances Regeneron’s position in the realm of hearing loss gene therapies.

The collaboration between the two companies dates back to 2017, and this acquisition bolsters Regeneron’s commitment to genetic medicines.

Regeneron’s recent decision to acquire Decibel Therapeutics is part of its broader strategy to invest more heavily in genetic medicines.

This aligns with Regeneron’s intensified focus on innovative medical approaches, including RNA interference (RNAi) therapies and gene editing, through partnerships with Alnylam and Intellia.

By establishing a genetic medicines division in 2022, Regeneron has demonstrated its dedication to advancing genetic therapies.

At the forefront of Decibel’s offerings is a pioneering gene therapy program aimed at treating congenital hearing loss resulting from otoferlin gene mutations.

This groundbreaking therapy involves an inner ear injection utilizing a viral vector named AAV, with the goal of restoring hearing by delivering a functional copy of the gene.

The joint efforts of Regeneron and Decibel have led to the initiation of Phase I/II CHORD study, which is currently evaluating this gene therapy’s potential in infants and children under 2 years of age across the US, Spain, and the UK.

Accelerating interest in hearing loss therapies

Regeneron, renowned for its groundbreaking antibody research, is now venturing into the realm of gene therapies with a keen focus on hearing loss.

The company recognizes the potential within this field, particularly as genetic defects underpin a significant portion of congenital hearing loss cases diagnosed in developed countries.

Regeneron’s collaboration with Decibel not only underscores the burgeoning interest in hearing loss therapies but also highlights the increasing momentum within the biotech sector.

The acquisition comes on the heels of other industry moves, including Eli Lilly’s acquisition of Decibel’s competitor, Akouos, in its pursuit of otoferlin hearing loss treatment.

Apart from its pioneering gene therapy, Decibel holds a diverse portfolio that includes DB-020, a formulation of sodium thiosulfate currently in phase 1b trials to address hearing loss linked to chemotherapy.

This innovative approach aims to protect patients from hearing loss caused by the chemotherapy drug cisplatin.

Decibel is also advancing hair cell regeneration programs targeting balance disorders and sensorineural hearing loss.

Decibel Therapeutics, the pioneer in hearing loss gene therapies, has been at the forefront since 2015.

Under the guidance of Laurence Reid, Ph.D., who assumed leadership in 2020, Decibel’s mission has centered on revolutionizing hearing loss treatment through innovative gene therapies.

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