Gene Signal: Eric Viaud. Discovering genes involved in the regulation of angiogenesis




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Video title: Gene Signal: Eric Viaud. Discovering genes involved in the regulation of angiogenesis
Released on: January 31, 2013. © PharmaTelevision Ltd
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In this episode of PharmaTelevision News Review, filmed at BioEurope 2012 in Hamburg, Germany, Fintan Walton talks to Eric Viaud, CEO at Gene Signal
Origin and main focus of Gene Signal
Fintan Walton:
Hello and welcome to PharmaTelevision News Review here at BioEurope in Hamburg, in 2012. On this show I have Eric Viaud, who is the CEO of a company called Gene Signal, based in Switzerland, welcome.
Eric Viaud:
Yes, good afternoon and welcome.
Fintan Walton:
Eric, Gene Signal as I said is a company that's based in Switzerland, it also has activities outside Switzerland, in France, and Canada, but could you tell us a little bit about the origins of the business, and what you are actually focused on?
Eric Viaud:
Gene Signal is a clinical stage company which is focused in the field of angiogenesis based disease, we have at the moment four product in for eleven indication, mainly in the ophthalmology, dermatology, vascular and oncology.
Gene Signal's lead molecule GS-101 Aganirsen
Fintan Walton:
Okay, so the company, some of these molecules are quite novel, and the first molecule that you have is actual an antisense molecule, could you tell me how these molecules were discovered, and why Gene Signal is taking those products forward?
Eric Viaud:
Yes since the beginning we have our Scientific Officer, Chief Scientific Officer who is a specialist in the field of angiogenesis based disease, he has worked in this area for more than 20-years and he discovered the first molecule and our lead product, which is our first molecule is GS-101.
Fintan Walton:
Okay, and then that's indicated for what disease?
Eric Viaud:
So we have a couple of indication for this GS-101 Aganirsen, the first indication where we will finish our Phase III will be for early next year, and if the results are positive we'll file at the EMEA level back to back, and so we have developed also different formulation for the same API and these formulation would be developed later on for non-orphan indication like wet AMD next year.
Development of GS-101
Fintan Walton:
So EricGS-101, what is the mode of action for GS-101, and why is it different to other competing molecules?
Eric Viaud:
Yes, GS-101 Aganirsen is a completed novel molecule which is different from the other, because all the drug available anti-VEGF, they have an anti-VEGF action mean while GS-101 is targeting the overexpression of protein which is regulating the overexpression of the VEGF downstream. So we can say that we don't have any action on physiological vessel with GS-101, mean while when you are administrating an anti-VEGF to a normal blood vessel you are reducing the size and volume of the blood vessels. So we can easily mention that we could face three possible indication. The first indication in retinal application would be a frontline indication, the second possible indication is to hit an add on effect with existing anti-VEGF, which is not existing right now, and the last possible way of administration is because of topical application and when you have patient with the local side effects due to the number of injection you can continue the treatment with these topical application.
Fintan Walton:
Okay, so when you take a product like that through to Phase III that costs money, and so where does the funding for Gene Signal come from?
Eric Viaud:
The funding is coming from private investors, it's coming also from our pocket, because we are all investors, the management team and the private investors.
Other products of Gene Signal
Fintan Walton:
Okay, very good. You said you've had four products that are in clinical development, the first one you've just mentioned, what about the remaining three?
Eric Viaud:
The other one are small peptides dedicated to the vascular area, and the last one is a monoclonal antibody for oncology indications.
Fintan Walton:
Okay, and what clinical stage are those at?
Eric Viaud:
The other one are in preclinical.
Fintan Walton:
In preclinical?
Eric Viaud:
GS-101 the Aganirsen is finishing its first Phase III, and we are expecting to enter two different Phase II next year in neovascular glaucoma, and wet AMD indication.
Fintan Walton:
Right, and I mean that's the key thing about the first molecule as this got a number of potential uses, and then each of those uses require different type of formulation?
Eric Viaud:
Yes, exactly.
Fintan Walton:
Okay, so they can be quite distinctive products?
Eric Viaud:
Absolutely and that's why we are thinking and we do believe that it's a de-risked asset.
Fintan Walton:
Right, indeed. So clearly the business model is to develop these molecules yourselves, but one point probably quite soon you'll be probably looking for partners?
Eric Viaud:
Yes.
Business strategies of Gene Signal
Fintan Walton:
And so what's the strategy there? What's the business model, how does that fit into the business model for Gene Signal?
Eric Viaud:
For Gene Signal we are able to develop our own orphan indication in EU, so we'll be able to commercialize, because we already commercialized the product in the frame of named-patient sales in countries in Europe, so we can do it by our own. We are going to raise the money and we'll finish the round by the next three to six months and after that we will be able to develop the other indication, and we think that this will be the time for starting the discussion with in those trials.
Future rospects of Gene Signal
Fintan Walton:
Right, indeed. Now when you have a company like Gene Signal based in Switzerland it is, does the location of your business in Switzerland make the difference to you?
Eric Viaud:
Yes, I mean the image of Switzerland is very good in for the different activities, I mean close to our headquarter we have a big campus where we have access to nice scientific people, and it's really nice to have these headquarter. The role of the other location is different, France is doing the basic research, mean while Canada is doing the development, in Switzerland we are managing the IP and the clinical studies.
Fintan Walton:
Very good. So what can we expect Eric from Gene Signal over the next few years? What sort of milestone, landmarks can we expect to see?
Eric Viaud:
First of all we can expect the clinical Phase III results by early next year, followed by a big fund raising, and the start of at least two big clinical study and notably one in non-orphan indication.
Fintan Walton:
Excellent. Eric Viaud, thank you very much indeed for coming on the show.
Eric Viaud:
Thank you.
Fintan Walton
Dr Fintan Walton is the Founder and CEO of PharmaVentures . After completing his doctoral research on the genetics of cell proliferation at the University of Michigan(US)and Trinity College (Dublin, Ireland), Dr Walton gained broad commercial experience in biotechnology in management positions at Bass and Celltech plc (1982-1992).
Eric Viaud
Chief Executive Officer
At the time of this PTV interview Eric Viaud serves as Chief Executive Officer at Gene Signal International SA. Eric is one of the company's founders. He is the current CEO of the company. His leadership has successfully brought the company from the drug discovery phase to the current clinical development phases. Eric has a demonstrated track record as a biotech entrepreneur, having successfully overseen and led the development of several Biotech start-up ventures. He is currently an Advisor and Board Member of various biotech companies in Europe. Eric began his career in the Pharmaceuticals Industry and then later moved to Medical Devices. He has held Senior Management positions in the field of sales & marketing, licensing, strategic alliances and medical and R&D. He also has extensive experience in the regulatory & reimbursement fields. Eric holds a Master Degree in Clinical Psychopathology from the University of Bordeaux (France).
PharmaVentures
PharmaVentures is a corporate finance and transactions advisory firm that has served hundreds of clients worldwide in relation to their strategic deal making in the pharmaceutical, life science and healthcare sectors. Our key offerings include: Transactions / deal negotiations; Product / technology valuations; Deal term advice; Due diligence & expert reports; Strategy formulation; Alliance management; and Expert opinion for litigation/arbitration cases. PharmaVentures provides the global expertise to ensure our clients generate the highest possible return on investment from all their deal making activities. We have experience of all therapeutic areas and can offer advice on both product and technology commercialization.
Gene Signal
Gene Signal is a research based biotechnology company specialized in the discovery, development, and commercialization of a new class of oligonucleotides, proteins and monoclonal antibodies to treat a range of conditions where angiogenesis plays a determinant role. Gene Signal's innovative therapies use precisely targeted angiogenic (inducing vascular growth) or angiostatic (inhibiting vascular growth) agents, derived from genes that are exclusively involved with the angiogenesis process. Gene Signal's therapies aim to provide a more targeted alternative to existing solutions like Vascular Endothelial Growth Factors which impact other physiological phenomena in addition to angiogenesis. Gene Signal's targeted therapies represents a novel, next-generation approach to the management of angiogenesis based conditions and offer the potential to improve treatment options for concerned patients. Founded in 2000, Gene Signal has assembled an strong leadership team that includes scientific, medical, regulatory, and business professionals with successful track records in developing and bringing to market state of the art drugs. Gene Signal continues to develop its angiogenesis modulating technology and has built a significant intellectual property portfolio, as well as a robust clinical and preclinical pipeline.