The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kanpur has licensed a pioneering technology to Reliance Life Sciences Pvt Ltd that has the potential to revolutionise the field of gene therapy, especially for many genetic eye diseases.
The technology licensing agreement was formally signed between IIT Kanpur and Reliance Life Sciences in the presence Abhay Karandikar (Director, IIT Kanpur), and K V Subramaniam (Licensee & President of Reliance Life Sciences).
"This marks the first time that a gene therapy related technology has been developed and transferred from an academic institution to a company in India," the two parties said in a statement.
The gene therapy technology from IIT Kanpur will be further developed as an indigenous product by Reliance Life Sciences.
There are many 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 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.
"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," it said.
Gene therapy is one of the most potent applications of recombinant DNA technology wherein pieces of DNA from multiple sources are combined to efficiently deliver the healthy copy of the faulty gene in a manner that production of protein from the introduced gene is sustained for life.
"Gene therapy using viral vectors has recently emerged as a potent tool in the field of molecular medicine," said Karandikar. "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." Subramaniam said Reliance Life Sciences, a research-driven, medical biotechnology company, will take forward this innovative technology to commercialisation.
Reliance Life Sciences is developing several gene therapies to address unmet clinical needs. In addition to gene therapies, Reliance Life Sciences is developing a range of human and animal health vaccines and mRNA products.