'Deeply committed' Jim Wilson pours more of his life's work into Passage Bio — locking in more gene therapy programs, new tech
From Passage Bio’s inception last February to its IPO filing a year later, its close relationship with co-founder Jim Wilson’s Gene Therapy Program at the University of Pennsylvania has always been touted as a major strength. Now the biotech is tying an even tighter knot with its academic partner.
In a deal expansion, Passage nabbed the option to license five more programs coming out of Wilson’s lab and extended the exercise period by three years to 2025. If all the candidates end up making the cut, they will feed 17 new treatments for rare monogenic diseases all the way through clinical development.
While the financial details were not disclosed, the company has previously noted that it promised around $1 million for each of the 12 programs involved in the initial deal.
That’s not all. Passage also wants exclusive rights to the technologies emerging out of the drug discovery process — everything from novel capsids and toxicity reduction methods to delivery and formulation improvements.
In exchange, it’s committed to funding all relevant research at the GTP to the tune of $5 million a year.
“Expanding this collaboration provides us with the opportunity to not only deepen our pipeline but also strengthen our own expertise and capabilities as we strive to develop transformative gene therapies for patients,” Bruce Goldsmith, who replaced Stephen Squinto as CEO just ahead of the IPO $PASG, said in a statement.
Wilson — who worked closely with his longtime mentor, Frazier partner Tachi Yamada, to make this his legacy company — reiterated that he’s “deeply committed to the growth and success of Passage.”
The coming year is shaping up to be a critical one for Passage, with anticipation for multiple trial launches and some early data.