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In Brief This Week: PreventionGenetics, Karius, Ocugen, Aspen Neuroscience, Novartis

NEW YORK – The Foundation Fighting Blindness said this week that it has partnered with PreventionGenetics, a unit of Exact Sciences, and InformedDNA to provide services for the My Retina Tracker genetic testing program. The initiative, launched in 2017, provides genetic testing and counseling at no cost to patients with a clinical diagnosis of inherited retinal diseases who meet certain eligibility criteria. So far, more than 20,000 individuals have received testing through the program. Under the new agreement, PreventionGenetics will serve as the testing laboratory, using a targeted gene panel, while InformedDNA will offer genetic counseling services. Previously, Blueprint Genetics, part of Quest Diagnostics since 2020, had been providing genetic testing for the program. 

Malvern, Pennsylvania-based Ocugen this week said it has completed dosing patients in the second cohort of its Phase I/II GARDian trial studying the safety and efficacy of OCU410ST, its gene therapy candidate for Stargardt disease, a rare and inherited eye condition. Next month, a data and safety monitoring board will convene to review four-week safety data from this cohort before the company can advance into the final high-dose cohort of the dose-escalation phase of this clinical trial, in which it will treat three patients. 

San Diego-based Aspen Neuroscience this week announced it has received an $8 million grant from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine to support its first-in-human open-label Phase I/IIa trial testing the safety and tolerability of ANPD001, an autologous neuronal cell replacement therapy for moderate-to-severe Parkinson's disease, in the US. Aspen Neuroscience has completed enrollment into the clinical trial and in April said it had dosed the first patient and will continue to dose patients this year. 

Novartis said this week that its offer to acquire MorphoSys has been accepted by 79.6 percent of the total share capital of MorphoSys. The acceptance met the minimal threshold of 65 percent acceptance. Now that Novartis has fulfilled the offer conditions, it can begin integrating MorphoSys' candidates into its pipeline, including the EZH1 and EZH2 inhibitor tulmimetostat, which is under development for a variety of cancer indications, including several that are biomarker defined. 

In Brief This Week is a selection of news items that may be of interest to our readers but had not previously appeared on Precision Medicine Online.