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J&J, MeiraGTx to collaborate on gene therapies with on/off switch

Johnson & Johnson has signed a collaboration agreement with MeiraGTx Holdings PLC to develop regulatable gene therapy treatments, or technology that applies an on and off switch to deliver medicine according to the patient's needs.

Under the agreement, New York-based MeiraGTx will use its proprietary riboswitch technology to develop regulatable gene therapy constructs using gene sequences from Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc., a unit of New Brunswick, N.J.-based pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson.

MeiraGTx's gene regulation technology has an on and off switch for gene expression into the gene therapy vector, which carries the medicine and can be activated using a small molecule. Using this approach, gene therapies can be switched on and off according to the patients' need and dosing requirements. MeiraGTx said the technology has the potential to transform the field of gene therapy.

The companies said the performance of the gene therapy constructs will be evaluated to determine the use of this approach in future product development.

Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed in an Oct. 16 press release announcing the collaboration.

MeiraGTx develops gene therapy products for patients suffering from acquired and inherited disorders, including inherited retinal and neurodegenerative diseases.