Intrexon (NYSE:XON) used a late Friday 8-K filing to announce a joint venture with India's Sun Pharma to battle common eye diseases such as dry age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma, and retinitis pigmentosa. Sun is best known as a seller of branded generic drugs in the U.S. and India, as well as other markets.
The deal, completed on Sept. 30, calls for using Intrexon's proprietary synthetic biology technologies for developing gene therapies for various forms of ocular disease. Sun Pharma is expected to contribute expertise in developing and manufacturing complex dosages.
In a press release, Dilip Shanghvi, managing director of Sun Pharma, said: "We believe Intrexon's biotechnology capabilities will enable us to develop not one, but several highly effective, novel treatments for multiple ocular disorders where there is currently an unmet need. Through this partnership it is our goal to provide relief for millions of people who today have very few treatment options and little hope of preserving their vision."
Randal J. Kirk, chairman and chief executive officer of Intrexon, also commented on the collaboration.
"Today, more people suffer from ocular diseases than cancer," Kirk said. "To address this immense unmet need, our innovative collaboration will unite Sun Pharma's global capability to develop and manufacture complex pharmaceuticals with Intrexon's proprietary cell and gene engineering technologies."
According to data compiled and published by the World Health Organization in June 2012, more than 285 million people worldwide are visually impaired. About 90% of those live in developing countries such as India.
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