Otonomy, Inc. (NASDAQ:OTIC), a biopharmaceutical company dedicated to the development of innovative therapeutics for neurotology, today announced preclinical results from the company’s gene therapy collaboration with Applied Genetic Technologies Corporation (NASDAQ:AGTC) focused initially on treating GJB2 deficiency for congenital hearing loss, and preclinical results demonstrating the therapeutic potential of a class of compounds being evaluated for otoprotection against cisplatin-induced hearing loss (CIHL). These results were presented during the ongoing Association for Research in Otolaryngology (ARO) 43rd Annual MidWinter Meeting being held in San Jose, California.
“Together with our strategic partner, AGTC, we are encouraged by these initial preclinical results that demonstrate our ability to express a gene of interest in the target cells relevant to the treatment of congenital hearing loss due to GJB2 deficiency," said David A. Weber, Ph.D., president and chief executive officer of Otonomy. “Also, the preclinical results presented for our OTO-510 program highlight the therapeutic potential of a novel class of cisplatin-binding molecules for protection against CIHL and the higher potency of these agents versus other molecules currently in clinical development.”
Preclinical Results for GJB2 Gene Therapy Collaboration
In October 2019, Otonomy and AGTC announced a strategic collaboration to co-develop and co-commercialize an AAV-based gene therapy to restore hearing in patients with sensorineural hearing loss caused by a mutation in the gap junction protein beta 2 gene (GJB2) -- the most common cause of congenital hearing loss. The joint presentation by Otonomy and AGTC at ARO provided initial demonstration that a gene of interest can be expressed in support cells of the cochlea, which are the relevant target cells for treating GJB2 deficiency, using novel and proprietary AAV capsids. Furthermore, these studies identified several capsids with favorable tropism and gene expression level in support cells compared to previously reported capsids used in the field. Importantly, none of the novel AAV capsids evaluated for further development exhibited signs of cellular toxicity.
Preclinical Results for OTO-510 Otoprotection Program
Cisplatin is a potent chemotherapeutic agent that is widely used to treat a variety of cancers in adults and children. Unfortunately, the administration of cisplatin is commonly associated with severe adverse effects including CIHL that is progressive, bilateral and irreversible. At ARO, Otonomy presented preclinical results demonstrating varying degrees of otoprotection against CIHL for several different classes of therapeutic agents. In particular, a novel proprietary class of agents that potently bind to cisplatin demonstrated greater otoprotection than anti-oxidant and anti-apoptotic molecules, and increased potency relative to other cisplatin-binding molecules currently in clinical development. These results highlight the therapeutic potential of Otonomy’s novel otoprotectant agents as the basis for the OTO-510 program for CIHL.