Department of Health – Abu Dhabi and Opus Genetics Announce Collaboration to Advance Ground-Breaking Gene Therapy Research for Inherited Retinal Diseases

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ABU DHABI, UAE, June 4, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — During the BIO 2024 International Convention, the Department of Health – Abu Dhabi (DoH), the regulator of the healthcare sector in the Emirate, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Opus Genetics, a patient-first, clinical-stage gene therapy company. Through this collaboration, both entities will work together to accelerate the development of novel gene therapies for patients with rare inherited retinal diseases (IRDs) in the UAE.

IRDs are a major cause of vision loss worldwide, and affect approximately 5% of the Arabian Gulf population, severely impacting the lives of patients, their families, and communities. Leveraging the unique data access and capabilities of UAE’s world-leading Emirati Genome Programme and Opus Genetics’ expertise in clinical-stage gene therapy, the parties will explore the potential of conducting and expediting preclinical testing and clinical trials to benefit patients with IRDs.

In the presence of H.E. Mansoor Al Mansoori, Chairman of DoH, and Ben Yerxa, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Opus Genetics, the MoU was signed by Dr Asma Al Mannaei, the Executive Director of the Research and Innovation Centre at DoH and Dr. Yerxa.

Dr Asma Ibrahim Al Mannaei, said: “With our uniquely diverse population, established excellence in genomics, and a streamlined 30-day research approval process, Abu Dhabi is well suited to become a focal destination for gene therapy trials. Our collaboration with Opus Genetics reaffirms our commitment to changing lives by seeking and supporting ground-breaking research and the development of novel therapies. By leveraging the Emirate’s advanced

genomics expertise and data-enabled infrastructure, we seek to boost preclinical research and trials that will improve healthcare outcomes today and for generations to come. On our journey to becoming a global hub for health and life science, Abu Dhabi and the Department of Health will continue to act as a both an accelerator and a platform for innovation.”

Ben Yerxa, Ph.D., said: “We are thrilled to announce this collaboration with The Department of Health – Abu Dhabi, which marks a significant step forward in our mission to develop transformative gene therapies for patients with IRDs. Combining UAE’s Emirati Genome Programme with Opus’ expertise in clinical-stage gene therapy development will enable us to explore and expedite the development of novel gene therapies, potentially bringing much-needed treatments to patients with IRDs in Abu Dhabi and globally. We are committed to working together to accelerate preclinical testing and clinical trials, ultimately bringing hope and improved quality of life to those affected by these debilitating conditions.”

Led by the Department of Health – Abu Dhabi (DoH), a high-profile Abu Dhabi delegation headed by His Excellency Mansoor Ibrahim Al Mansoori, Chairman of the DoH, is visiting the United States of America (USA) between May 29th,2024 and June 5th,2024 to showcase the Emirate’s partnership opportunities and explore collaboration with leading organisations in Research and Development (R&D), manufacturing and innovation. Kicking-off in Philadelphia, delegates have met with existing and new partners to foster collaboration with leading education research institutions, governmental bodies and health-tech giants. The transnational mission has culminated in San Diego, coinciding with Abu Dhabi’s participation at BIO International Convention 2024 to exhibit the Emirate’s growth and development of its biotechnology industry. The participation has witnessed in-depth discussions, shared insights and expertise as well as explored collaborations in health-tech, life science and innovation.

Highlighting the rich diversity and expertise within Abu Dhabi’s ecosystem, the Delegation comprised of 20 key entities including the Department of Health – Abu Dhabi (DoH), Abu Dhabi Investment Office (ADIO), Abu Dhabi Executive Office (ADEO), G42, Masdar City, Mubadala Investment Company, Khalifa Economic Zones Abu Dhabi Group (KEZAD), Malaffi,

The Medical Office, Ambulatory Healthcare Services, PureHealth, One Health, M42, Technology Innovation Institute (TII), Burjeel Holdings, Khalifa University, Abu Dhabi Holding Company (ADQ), Abu Dhabi Stem Cell Centre (ADSCC) and Etihad Airways.

Photo – https://mma.prnewswire.com/media/2430307/DoH_and_Opus_Genetics.jpg

SOURCE The Department of Health – Abu Dhabi

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