At last month’s Biotech Start-up Symposium, Killian Guse of GeneQuine Biotherapeutics spoke about their next generation gene therapy for musculoskeletal disorders. Gene therapy is currently a hot field in drug development, and large pharma companies are buying into it.
While gene therapy was first developed and utilized for orphan diseases, GeneQuine is looking into its uses in larger, more mainstream illnesses including osteoarthritis and degenerative disc disease. There are currently no disease-modifying drugs available for these conditions, and they come at a cost of billions of dollars a year for treatments.
Over 77 million people in the US and Europe are affected by lower back pain, and back pain is a top cause for years lived with disability for all developed nations. 3.5 million new patients are diagnosed with degenerative disc disease every year, and GeneQuine has developed a single, intradiscal injection that modifies the disease, rather than just treating the symptoms.
In this treatment, therapeutic proteins are injected directly into the affected joints (osteoarthritis) or between affected vertebrae (degenerative disc disease). This is a game changer in the back pain field because just one injection leads to symptom relief, healing, and a better quality of life.