The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kanpur has licensed a pioneering technology to Reliance Life Sciences that has the potential to revolutionise gene therapy, especially for genetic eye diseases.
While the technology will be further developed as an indigenous product by Reliance Life Sciences, this is the first time that a gene therapy related technology has been developed and transferred from an academic institution to an Indian company.
The technology licensing agreement was formally signed between IIT Kanpur and Reliance Life Sciences at a MoU exchange ceremony in the presence of IIT Kanpur director Prof Abhay Karandikar and K V Subramaniam (Licensee & President of Reliance Life Sciences).
In cases of inherited disorders caused by a faulty gene, ‘Gene Therapy’ is a way to replace the faulty gene with a functional version of the gene to treat such disorders.
Developed by Prof Jayandharan Giridhara Rao and Shubham Maurya from the Department of Biological Sciences and Bioengineering (BSBE), IIT Kanpur, the patented technology modifies the gene of an organism to treat a hereditary disorder.
In this case, the site refers to a specific location on an Adeno-associated virus (AAV) (viral vector) used for gene therapy. The technology modifies this location to optimise its ability to deliver genes to the affected cells and improve its effectiveness.
The technology has the ability to improve gene therapy for many hereditary diseases, especially inherited eye diseases. It has shown significant promise in correcting the vision impairment in animal models of blindness.
“IIT Kanpur is committed to developing impactful technologies in the field of healthcare, and we are delighted to see the licensing of this gene therapy technology to Reliance Life Sciences,” Karandikar said.
“We believe that this technology holds great promise for treating a wide range of hereditary eye diseases including Leber congenital amaurosis, an eye disorder that is present from birth; and Retinitis pigmentosa, a disease causing progressive sustained vision loss,” he added.
“Reliance Life Sciences is a research-driven, medical biotechnology company and we are thrilled to collaborate and take forward this innovative technology to commercialisation,” Subramaniam said.