Benitec Biopharma ($BNTC) announced that it has significant milestone with regard to its ddRNAi technology to treat ocular diseases, particularly with identifying novel viral vectors. The new development will enable the delivery of the gene therapy to the retina via intravitreal injection. Current ocular gene therapy requires a complex surgical technique called subretinal injection for delivery into the eye.
The company had also recently announced that its BB-301, a ddRNAi therapeutic, was granted Orphan Drug Designation by the European Commission, based on a favourable recommendation from the European Medicines Agency (EMA) Committee for Orphan Medicinal Products (COMP).
The news had significant positive impact on the company stock price. The stock has appreciated over 113% this year so far, wiping out the major portion of losses it had incurred in 2016. The company also announced the start of work towards two new oncology pipeline programs.
Benitec will carry out these programs pursuant to its new Research Collaboration Agreement with Nant Capital LLC. The agreement offers the company to take manage the clinical development of BB-401, a recombinant DNA construct that produces an antisense RNA with specificity against Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor.
The new collaboration will help the company in accessing better sources of funding as well. The company shareholders have already approved the placement of up to 60 million ordinary shares to Nant Capital and other investors.