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16 April, 2019 - 14:33 By Tony Quested

UK-US merger creates top retinal gene therapy business

Khurem Farooq

Gyroscope Therapeutics, a Stevenage biotech company developing gene therapies for retinal diseases, has merged with Orbit Biomedical in the US. 

Under the Gyroscope name, the organisation says it will become the first fully integrated retinal gene therapy company with clinical, manufacturing and delivery capabilities.

As it enters the next phase of growth towards bringing medicines to patients, Gyroscope will be led by newly appointed CEO Khurem Farooq. Prior to joining the company, Khurem was the senior VP of the immunology and ophthalmology business unit at Genentech and responsible for managing the commercial success of Lucentis and the pre-launch activities for lampalizumab for age-related macular degeneration. 

Farooq said: “It is an exciting time to join Gyroscope with our first clinical study in patients with geographic atrophy due to dry AMD underway. 

“By joining forces with Orbit, we can combine our expertise in developing gene therapies and our high-quality manufacturing processes with a surgical platform that can support accurate, safe and consistent delivery of medicines that will hopefully cure eye diseases that today leave people blind.”

Gyroscope was founded to capitalise on a convergence of advancements made in the understanding of the complement system’s impact on eye disease, the genetic basis of Age-related Macular Degeneration and gene therapy as a mode of sustained drug delivery.

It is building a pipeline of medicines for blinding eye diseases linked to the complement system.

The private company’s investors include Syncona, Cambridge Enterprise and Cambridge Innovation Capital.

Orbit Biomedical is a specialist medical device company operating at the intersection of biomedical engineering, surgeon training and curative therapeutics. It is based in Ambler, PA.

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