Sensorion (FR0012596468 – ALSEN), a clinical-stage biotech company specializing in the development of novel therapies to restore, treat, and prevent hearing related disorders, and Sonova (SWX:SOON), announced that they have signed a multi-year strategic collaboration with the aim of introducing genetic analysis to the routine diagnosis of progressive hearing loss in adults, thereby opening the way for “improved care through a combination of advanced therapeutic interventions and traditional hearing aids.”

Related article: Sonova to Acquire 3.7% Ownership Stake in Sensorion

The deal brings to fruition a process started in December 2020, when Sonova acquired a 3.7% stake in Sensorion for €5 million (USD $5.9 million), and the two companies signed a letter of intent to engage in exclusive negotiations to create new diagnostic and therapeutic solutions for hearing loss. 

The key element of the collaboration between Sensorion and Sonova is a natural history study including genotyping thousands of patients suffering from early onset of severe presbycusis (age-related hearing loss) with the aim of confirming hundreds of patients for specific mutations. Sonova Audiological Care stores will participate in the recruitment and follow-up of patients to assess the prevalence of such variants in genes, including GJB2, and the association of particular mutations with disease severity and progression. Sonova and Sensorion will jointly fund the study with €7.0 million (USD $8.27 million), split 70/30 between the two companies.

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“We are very pleased to be working closely with Sonova in a collaboration to investigate inherited components of hearing loss,” said Nawal Ouzren, CEO of Sensorion. “Inherited factors contribute to the incidence, severity, and rate of progression of hearing loss in the general adult population. We believe that, together with Sonova, we are driving future standards of hearing loss diagnosis and of therapy. Our collaboration keeps Sensorion at the cutting edge of hearing loss development by adding to our growing understanding of the ways gene therapy can help fill unmet medical needs beyond childhood and congenital deafness.”

“We are excited to leverage our Audiological Care stores to help identify and manage patients with relevant mutations that could be clinically followed up in the proposed Natural History Study,” said Arnd Kaldowski, CEO of Sonova. “The aim of this joint project is to explore synergies between two approaches of hearing health care, traditional hearing care, and emerging bio-pharmaceutical approaches which we believe will be largely complementary. By actively participating in this study on screening of genetic predispositions leading to hearing loss, we will learn about potential new diagnostic procedures as well as how we as Sonova can contribute and benefit from these new emerging technologies in hearing care and ultimately better support the consumer on their journey to better hearing.”

The agreement with Sonova reflects Sensorion’s broader intent to leverage its technology base in the genetics of hearing loss to build an integrated picture of diagnosis and therapy through collaborations with commercial and academic organizations. 

Source: Sensorion, Sonova