February 3, 2023
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Capsida announces multi-year agreement with Eli Lilly subsidiary

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A Capsida scientist at work in the company’s laboratory in Thousand Oaks. (courtesy photo)

Thousand Oaks-based Capsida Therapeutics has entered into a multi-year agreement with Prevail Therapeutics, a wholly owned subsidiary of Eli Lilly and Company, to develop transformative genetic medicines for serious diseases, Capisda announced Jan. 4.

As per the agreement, Capsida will receive $55 million in the form of an upfront payment and a commitment to participate in the company’s next financing round.

Moreover, the deal has the potential to earn Capsida up to $685 million in research and development and commercial milestones as well as tiered royalties. 

Capsida is backed by Westlake Village Biopartners, a venture capital fund aimed at starting and bringing more biotechnology companies to California, and specifically, the Conejo Valley.

Capsida came out of stealth mode in April 2021, announcing a $140 million Series A capital round to go with it. 

The company’s main specialization is its gene therapy technology, which is based on research from the lab of its third co-founder, Caltech professor Viviana Gradinaru, who is on the company’s board. Its gene therapy platform “allows more selective targeting of specific tissues and cells, overcoming many of the problems associated with first-generation gene therapies, specifically off-target cell and organ activity.” 

It also allows for gene therapy to be administered through non-invasive intravenous methods.

As part of the deal, Capsida will have an option to also participate in the development and commercialization in the United States in exchange for a gross margin share in one of the programs.

For all programs, Capsida will lead capsid discovery efforts using its high throughput AAV engineering and screening platform.

Prevail will be responsible for preclinical and investigational new drug-enabling studies with therapeutic payloads.

Prevail will leverage Capsida’s novel adeno-associated virus engineering platform, which helps to identify and advance clinically translatable capsids paired with Prevail’s cargo to develop IV-administered gene therapies.

These therapies are directed to specified targets known to cause serious diseases that affect the central nervous system.

Capsida said in its press release that delivering AAV gene therapy systematically to target CNS, while limiting exposure to other non-target organs, has been a significant challenge in the gene therapy field. 

“Prevail’s expertise in neuroscience, gene therapy R&D, and access to Lilly’s world-class commercialization capabilities complements Capsida’s fully integrated approach, including our next-generation AAV engineering platform. Prevail and Capsida are committed to developing highly effective and safe gene therapies that have the potential to be transformative for patients living with serious CNS diseases,” Peter Anastasiou, chief executive officer of Capsida, said in a press release.

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