Hemera Biosciences

Hemera Biosciences, LLC Announces Agreement with Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc., One of the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson

Hemera Biosciences, LLC, a clinical stage ocular gene therapy company focused on preserving vision, announced today that Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc., one of the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson, has acquired rights to Hemera’s investigational gene therapy, HMR59. Financial terms of the transaction are not being disclosed.

HMR59 is an intravitreal AAV gene therapy that is being evaluated for the treatment of dry age-related macular degeneration, or dry AMD. In AMD, dysregulation of the complement system can lead to the formation of the membrane attack complex (MAC) on retinal cells causing retinal cell death and progressive loss of vision. HMR59 is designed as a potential one-time treatment administered in an office setting that increases the ability of retina cells to produce a soluble form of CD59, called sCD59, that blocks the formation of the membrane attack complex and limits further damage to the retina.

“Dry AMD is a debilitating visual disease that affects millions of people with no currently available treatment options. We are very excited that Janssen recognizes the value of our HMR59 program and sees this transaction as an important moment in furthering the goal of Hemera to provide a single injection treatment for patients with dry AMD,” said Dr. Adam Rogers, Chief Executive Officer and Founder of Hemera. “Janssen is a recognized leader in the pharmaceutical industry, with extensive manufacturing, clinical, regulatory and commercial expertise. As part of Janssen’s organization, HMR59 will be best positioned to achieve its maximum potential and benefit patients in need.”

Guggenheim Securities, LLC acted as financial advisor and Goodwin Procter LLP served as legal counsel to Hemera.

Hope for new treatments buoys macular degeneration patients

Sometimes it starts with wavy vision. Objects appear distorted. Familiar faces go blurry.

Sean Teare, a 48-year-old health care consultant from Duxbury, struggled to read menus in dimly lit restaurants. After a battery of tests, his optometrist told him he had age-related macular degeneration, or AMD, an eye disease that afflicts more than 9 million Americans and can cause serious vision loss. “It came as a complete shock,” said Teare.

The prevalence of the condition is rising as the population ages. The number of early-stage cases for those 50 and older is projected to nearly double to 17.8 million in the United States by 2050, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For baby boomers, who are living longer than past 2 generations and fiercely prize their independence, it’s a dreaded diagnosis that threatens to rob them of everyday functions such as reading, driving, cooking, or watching television.

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