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Sanofi-aventis Enters into Research Collaboration with Audion Therapeutics to Develop Potential Treatments for Hearing Loss


June 16, 2011 - London

-Over 500 Million Patients Suffer from Hearing Loss Globally with No Currently Disease-Modifying Treatments Available-

Amsterdam, Netherlands - June 16, 2011
- Audion Therapeutics today announced that it has entered into a two-year agreement with Sanofi to to develop potential treatments for hearing loss through the optimization of small molecules by using a regenerative medicine approach.

 

This collaborative research will utilize technology developed at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary in the Eaton-Peabody Laboratory, one of the world's largest basic research facilities dedicated to the study of hearing and deafness, by investigator and Audion co-founder Dr. Albert Edge, who has strong expertise in stem cells and inner ear biology. Audion licensed Dr. Edge's technology from Mass Eye and Ear. Under the terms of the agreement, Sanofi has an option to license technology rights from Audion related to research conducted under the collaboration.
"This alliance with Sanofi validates our thinking around developing small molecule regenerative drugs for the treatment of hearing loss. We are very excited about this collaboration," said RolfJan Rutten and Helmuth van Es, founders of Audion Therapeutics.  "Sanofi's interest in the hearing loss field plus its vast experience and infrastructure in small-molecule drug discovery make them the perfect partner to  move this  program forward as diligently as possible."
About Hearing Loss
Hearing loss is the most prevalent inner ear disorder and the World Health Organization estimates that 500 million people worldwide have a mild to moderate to severe or greater hearing loss. Of people aged 65 to 74, nearly 33 percent have hearing loss and close to 50 percent of people over the age of 75 are affected. Of people over the age of 85, almost everyone is affected to some extent. Estimates are that the number of people in the world with age-related hearing loss is expected to increase to 900 million by 2050. However, the incidence is rising rapidly among younger people as well, due to frequent exposure to excessive noise. Estimates from the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention place the total annual costs of hearing loss at approximately $50 billion per year in the U.S. alone. There are currently no prescription products for a disease modifying treatment for hearing loss.
About Audion Therapeutics
Audion Therapeutics is a private biopharmaceutical company based in Amsterdam that is dedicated to the discovery, development and commercialization of drugs and delivery technologies for the treatment of diseases affecting the ear including hearing loss. Audion, which was founded by Albert Edge, Helmuth van Es and Rolf Jan Rutten, has technologies and molecules that originated from Albert Edge's research at the Mass Eye and Ear and then were exclusively licensed to Audion. For more information please visit www.audiontherapeutics.com.
About Mass Eye and Ear
The Mass Eye and Ear is a specialty hospital providing outstanding patient care for disorders of the eye, ear, nose, throat, head and neck. Mass Eye and Ear is an international leader in hearing loss research and a teaching partner of Harvard Medical School. For more information please visit www.MassEyeAndEar.org.
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Media Contacts
Audion Therapeutics BV
Rolf Jan Rutten
+31646767255
rjrutten@audiontherapeutics.com




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Source: Audion Therapeutics via Thomson Reuters ONE

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