Charles River inks gene therapy development and manufacturing pact with South Korean biopharma

Charles River Laboratories has entered a partnership deal with Rznomics, a South Korean biopharma, to develop and manufacture viral vectors for a gene therapy to treat liver cancer.

The collaboration centers on Rznomics’ RZ-001, the first ribozyme-based RNA reprogramming approach to receive authorization from the FDA for evaluation in patients, the company said in a Jan. 18 press release.

Rznomics' technology uses an adenoviral vector that expresses an hTERT-targeting ribozyme to treat hepatocellular carcinoma patients, which account for 80% of primary liver cancer cases in in the world.

The companies didn't disclose financial terms of the deal.

The South Korean Ministry of Food and Drug Safety signed off on early-phase trials of RZ-001 back in June.

For its part, Charles River Laboratories has been ramping up its cell and gene therapy operations since 2021 to cover viral vector, plasmid DNA and cell therapy production with the acquisitions of Vigene Biosciences, Cobra Biologics and Cognate BioServices.

In November, the company announced the completion of an expansion project at its cell therapy manufacturing facility in Memphis, Tennessee. That news came quick on the heels of the company opening a plasmid production facility in the U.K.