Sio Gene could be a canary in the coalmine for gene therapy

Once, pivoting to gene therapy seemed like a handy method of reinvention for Sio Gene Therapies, formerly known as Axovant. Now, involvement in the sector seems more like a poisoned chalice. Many gene therapy companies have struggled on the stock markets lately, but Sio has become the first of its peers to throw in the towel, saying yesterday that it was ceasing development of its two remaining assets, AXO-AAV-GM1 and AXO-AAV-GM2, and reviewing strategic alternatives. Perhaps the writing was on the wall when Sio canned its Parkinson’s project AXO-Lenti-PD and its chief executive officer. Still, AXO-AAV-GM1 had shown promise in the rare inherited disease GM1 gangliosidosis, albeit mainly on disease biomarkers. Maybe the FDA wanted to see more extensive data to support approval, something that could be bad news for other gangliosidosis players; however, Taysha for one has already deprioritised its GM2 programme amid layoffs. As the lean times continue, more gene therapy players could go the way of Sio. But some young companies are still confident that their next-gen technologies could avoid the shortfalls of the current crop. Click here to read Evaluate Vantage’s recent report on this topic.

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