2017 labiotech.eu and GlobeNewswire

Sensorion and Cochlear will explore if a combination of a drug and a hearing implant can improve the treatment of hearing loss. Based in the French city of Montpellier, Sensorion specialises in the development of treatments for inner ear disorders such as vertigo and hearing loss. The company’s technology received major recognition with the announcement that Cochlear, the world’s leader in the hearing implant market, will collaborate with Sensorion to improve hearing loss treatment.

sensorion As part of the agreement, Sensorion will run preclinical trials with a combination of Sensorion’s drug candidate SENS-401 and Cochlear’s implants. Cochlear will invest €1.6M in shares of Sensorion, which is listed on Euronext Paris, in exchange for the right to be the first to negotiate with Sensorion the licensing of the drug to further develop the combination. Preclinical studies will start in 2018, and the combination might take it into Phase II clinical trials as soon as 2019.

SENS-401 (R-azasetron besylate) is being developed by Sensorion as a treatment for sudden sensorineural hearing loss, also known as sudden deafness. This drug can protect sensory hair cells from dying, and it has received orphan drug designation from the FDA for its application to protect the hearing of children receiving chemotherapy drugs that cause deafness, such as cisplatin.

A similar rationale is behind the collaboration with Cochlear. The surgery used to implant hearing aids itself can cause hearing loss, but SENS-401 could help prevent the sensory hair cells from dying in the process. “The idea is that if we use SENS401 at the right moment during the surgical procedure for cochlear implantation, the combination of SENS-401 and Cochlear’s device may improve the hearing outcomes for patients,” Nawal Ouzren, CEO of Sensorion, said. 

Cochlear is the global leader in implantable hearing solutions and invests more than AUD$150 million a year in research and development.  The company is also involved in more than 100 research collaborations in 20 countries. Cochlear is the technology and market leader in cochlear implants.

“This innovative approach of combining SENS-401 with cochlear implants may allow for better hearing outcomes,” said Lawrence Lustig, MD, Howard W. Smith Professor and Chair, Department of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery, Columbia University Medical Center.  “SENS-401 has the potential to provide cochlear protection following the implantation procedure, to support long-term functional stability of the implant, and to prevent continued degeneration in some patients.”

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