Otsuka to collab with ShapeTX on eye disease gene therapies

Sept. 8, 2023

With the ink still wet on its psychedelics buy, Otsuka has announced a multi-target collaboration with Seattle-based ShapeTX to develop intravitreally-delivered adeno-associated viruses for ocular diseases.

The companies will collaborate to combine ShapeTX’s proprietary AAVid capsid discovery platform and transgene engineering technology with Otsuka’s expertise in genetic payload design and ophthalmology, with the goal of developing novel treatment options. ShapeTX says its AI-driven AAVid platform combines massive throughput screening of billions of unique AAV variants and machine learning to identify novel AAV capsids for direct-to-NHP in vivo selection to maximize clinical translation. 

In the deal, ShapeTX will receive an initial payment from Otsuka and is eligible to receive milestone payments potentially exceeding $1.5 billion.

Tokyo-based Otsuka has been in a spending mood, announcing an all-cash $59 million acquisition of psychedelic-inspired medicine maker Mindset Pharma less than a week ago. The seed for the deal was planted last year when Mindset and Otsuka's R&D investment arm entered into a $5 million joint development agreement to support Mindset's research and develop a new class of agonists that activate the serotonin 5-HT2A receptor.