Gyroscope Therapeutics merges with Orbit Biomedical creating a leading retinal gene therapy company

  • Merger brings together sub-retinal surgical delivery technology with Gyroscope’s clinical stage pipeline and gene therapy manufacturing platform
  • Gyroscope will be the world’s first end-to-end retinal gene therapy company with clinical, delivery and manufacturing capabilities

Gyroscope Therapeutics  (Gyroscope), a biotechnology company developing gene therapies for retinal diseases, announces its merger with Orbit Biomedical (Orbit), a medical device company focused on the precise and targeted delivery of gene and cell therapies into the retina. Under the Gyroscope name, the organisation will become the first fully-integrated retinal gene therapy company with clinical, manufacturing and delivery capabilities.

As it enters the next phase of growth towards bringing medicines to patients, Gyroscope will be led  by  newly  appointed Chief Executive Officer, Khurem  Farooq. Prior to joining the company, Khurem was the Senior Vice President of the Immunology and Ophthalmology business unit at Genentech and responsible for managing the commercial success of Lucentis and the pre-launch activities for lampalizumabfor age-related macular degeneration.

Khurem Farooq, Chief Executive Officer of Gyroscope Therapeutics, said, “It is an exciting time to join Gyroscope with our first clinical study in patients with geographic atrophy due to dry AMD underway. By joining forces with Orbit, we can combine our expertise in developing  gene therapies and our high-quality manufacturing processes with a surgical platform that cansupport accurate, safe and consistent delivery of medicines that will hopefully cure eye diseases that today leave people blind.”

In addition to Mr. Farooq, the company’s leadership team will include:

  • Soraya Bekkali, M.D., who led Gyroscope into the clinic and will continue to lead the research and development organisation as President, Head of Research and Development,
  • Susan Hill, Ph.D., who led the launch of Orbit, will become Gyroscope’s Chief Business Officer,
  • Mike Keane, Founder of Orbit,will be Gyroscope’s Chief Technology Officer and continue to  oversee the Orbit platform and its application to internal  programs and external partnerships,
  • Ashwin Datt with more than 25 years of lab management, business operations, and human resources experience in academia and the biotechnology  industry, will join the company as Chief People Officer.

Additionally, Ian Clark has been appointed as a Non-Executive Director. Ian has more than 30 years of senior leadership experience in the pharmaceutical and biotech industry; most recently serving as Chief Executive of Genentech.

Chris Hollowood, Chief Investment Officer of Syncona and Chair of Gyroscope, said, “Gyroscope is one of the first companies globally to move gene therapy out of rare diseases through the delivery of natural regulatory proteins. As retinal gene therapy progresses to more prevalent conditions, delivering a therapeutic in a way that ensures higher consistency of dosing, whilst allowing patients to receive a less invasive treatment, is key to widespread use and  clinical effectiveness. The merger ensures Gyroscope now has all the platform capabilities it requires to develop and deliver its therapeutics commercially.  This marks an important step in fulfilling founding academics, David Kavanagh and Andrew Lotery’s vision of widespread use of genetically defined treatments for dry AMD.

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