- Published on 18 September 2021
The days when genetic analysis becomes routine in diagnosis of progressive hearing loss should come nearer faster thanks to a strategic team-up between Swiss hearing health giant Sonova and Montpellier-based clinical-stage biotech company, Sensorion.
Presbyacusis, the gradual loss in hearing ability that occurs with age, is a condition with many factors behind it, one of which is genetics. Sensorion is one of many companies developing gene therapies to target hearing loss.
The €7m collaboration, announced September 15, will be jointly funded —Sonova paying 70% and Sensorian 30%. It will involve a natural history study(NHS) including genotyping thousands of patients suffering from early onset of severe presbycusis. 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.
The partnership between the two groups started in December 2020 when Sonova invested $5.9M in Sensorion (3.7% company stake) with a view to developing new treatments for hearing loss together
“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 healthcare, 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.”