- Sensorion and Cochlear will evaluate SENS-401 in combination with Cochlear's cochlear implants in preclinical setting in 2018, with potential mid-stage clinical testing to begin as soon as 2019
- Cochlear will invest €1.6 million and receive an equity stake in Sensorion
- Cochlear will receive a right of first negotiation for SENS-401 global use in combination with certain implantable devices
Montpellier, FR and Sydney, AUS, 18 Dec. 2017 – (CET) - Sensorion (FR0012596468 – ALSEN) a biotech company pioneering novel treatments for inner ear diseases, and Cochlear Limited (ASX: COH), the global leader in implantable hearing solutions, today jointly announce a strategic collaboration focused on improving hearing outcomes in patients with cochlear implants. The collaboration will evaluate therapeutic approaches using SENS-401 in combination with cochlear implants, with preclinical studies initiating in 2018, and potential clinical trials to begin as soon as 2019. As part of this strategic collaboration, Cochlear will invest €1.6 million in shares of Sensorion. In exchange, Cochlear will receive a right of first negotiation for a global license to use SENS-401 in patients with certain implantable devices.
Cochlear is the global leader in implantable hearing solutions and invests more than AUD$150 million a year in research and development. The company is also involved in more than 100 research collaborations in 20 countries. Cochlear is the technology and market leader in cochlear implants. These devices replace the function of the damaged inner ear, converting digitally-coded sound into electrical impulses that stimulate the hearing nerve and then the brain, where they are interpreted as sound.
Sensorion, a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company with strong academic and partner networks, scientific excellence and execution capabilities, is focused on delivering first-in-class therapeutics for debilitating inner ear disorders, which represent a global market of more than $10 billion1. Sensorion is developing SENS-401, a small molecule clinical candidate for hearing loss.
The preclinical combination studies will evaluate SENS-401's therapeutic effect on hearing outcomes achieved with Cochlear's implantable devices. SENS-401 has demonstrated in preclinical models (noise and drug induced hearing loss) the capacity to enhance survival and preserve functional integrity of hair cells in the inner ear. It has the potential to improve hearing outcomes for patients undergoing cochlear implant surgery.
"This innovative approach of combining SENS-401 with cochlear implants may allow for better hearing outcomes," said Lawrence Lustig, MD, Howard W. Smith Professor and Chair, Department of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery, Columbia University Medical Center. "SENS-401 has the potential to provide cochlear protection following the implantation procedure, to support long-term functional stability of the implant, and to prevent continued degeneration in some patients."
"Addressing hearing loss is a societal priority" said Frank Lin, M.D., Ph.D., Associate Professor of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. "In particular, it has substantive implications for the cognitive and physical well-being of older adults that will likely have broader effects on public health."
"Our collaboration has the potential to be transformational for both partners, as well as for patients suffering from hearing loss," said Nawal Ouzren, CEO of Sensorion. "In children, the sense of hearing is crucial to development, language and learning; in older adults, hearing impairment can be disabling and isolating. We believe that our collaborative efforts could ultimately result in life-changing benefits to implanted patients and we look forward to initiating mid-stage clinical testing as soon as 2019."
"Cochlear is committed to advance hearing therapies and we look forward to leveraging our combined knowledge and capabilities," stated Jan Janssen, Chief Technology Officer of Cochlear. "Sensorion has a promising portfolio of therapeutic candidates and we believe that the demonstrated effects of SENS-401 may strategically complement our technology. We are excited for what our combined efforts could mean for providing even better outcomes for implant recipients."
SENS-401, R-azasetron besylate, is a drug candidate that aims to protect and preserve inner ear tissue when lesions are present that can cause progressive or sequelar hearing impediments. A small molecule that can be taken orally or via an injection, SENS-401 has received Orphan Drug Designation in Europe for the treatment of sudden sensorineural hearing loss, and Orphan Drug Designation from the US FDA for the prevention of Cisplatin-induced ototoxicity in pediatric populations.
Sensorion is a biotech company pioneering novel treatments for inner ear diseases, such as severe vertigo, tinnitus, or hearing loss. Two products are currently in the clinical development stage: SENS-111, in phase 2 in acute unilateral vestibulopathy (vestibular neuritis), and SENS-401, which has completed a phase 1 trial. The company was founded by Inserm (the French Institute of Health and Medical Research) and is utilizing its pharmaceutical R&D experience and comprehensive technology platform to develop first-in-class, easy-to-administer, notably orally active, drugs for treating and preventing hearing loss and the symptoms of bouts of vertigo and tinnitus. Based in Montpellier, Southern France, Sensorion has received financial support from Bpifrance, through the InnoBio fund, and Inserm Transfert Initiative.
Sensorion has been listed on the Euronext Growth Paris exchange since April 2015. www.sensorion-pharma.com
About Cochlear Limited
Cochlear is the global leader in implantable hearing solutions. The company has a global workforce of more than 3,000 people and invests more than AUD$150 million a year in research and development. Products include hearing systems for cochlear implants, bone conduction and acoustic implants, which are designed to treat a range of moderate to profound types of hearing loss. More than 450,000 people of all ages, across more than 100 countries, now hear because of Cochlear.
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