Collaboration and licensing agreement to advance novel therapies for sensorineural hearing loss (SHNL), where there are currently no approved pharmacological therapies.

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK, USA I April 13, 2022 I Autigen, a biotechnology portfolio company of the pharmaceutical accelerator, Ascend BioVentures, developing novel treatments for hearing loss, announced today that it has signed a research collaboration and license agreement with Boehringer Ingelheim to discover, develop, and commercialize transformative therapies for patients with SNHL.

About 430 million people suffer from moderate to complete hearing loss worldwide, a number expected to rise to about 700 million by 2050. Hearing loss can significantly impact multiple aspects of life, including the loss of the ability to follow spoken conversations. Hearing loss contributes to increased risk of dementia and cognitive decline. Deafness in early life, if left unaddressed, is associated with poor development of spoken language and higher unemployment rates in later life. In addition, hearing loss represents a significant psychological burden such as loneliness, isolation, depression, and anxiety.

SNHL, which can eventually lead to deafness, accounts for about 90% of reported hearing loss cases and is related to a degeneration of sensory hair cells (HC) in the inner ear.

“We are excited to enter this collaboration with Boehringer-Ingelheim, an innovation-led company with a strong commitment to developing breakthrough regenerative and hearing loss therapies.” said Elaine Hamm, Ph.D., President, Autigen and CEO of Ascend BioVentures. “This collaboration advances our leadership position in novel therapies for sensorineural hearing loss (SHNL), an approach that Autigen and our collaborators at the Hough Ear Institute, have pioneered. It marks the first major licensing partnership out of our pharmaceutical accelerator, Ascend BioVentures and will enable Autigen to advance its novel therapy approach to restore SHNL for patients, who currently have no approved pharmacological or biological treatment options.”

Under the terms of the agreement, Autigen will receive an undisclosed upfront payment and research funding support. The company is also eligible to receive future success-based milestone payments of a total potential value of more than $100M if all milestones are achieved over the course of the partnership. Autigen is also eligible for royalties on products derived from the partnership. After a joint research collaboration phase, Boehringer Ingelheim will be responsible for further preclinical and clinical development, and commercialization.

About Autigen

Autigen, a subsidiary of Otologic Pharmaceutics, is a biotechnology company developing novel therapies for patients with acute and chronic hearing loss. The company’s research was based on science conducted at Hough Ear Institute (HEI), to develop novel therapies to restore hearing loss. The company’s technology platform can regenerate lost hair cells (HC) in the ear. The therapeutic can be administered in the ear in an outpatient setting. Otologic Pharmaceutics and its other subsidiary, Auditus, also has a collaboration with Oblato to develop their clinical stage program. Otologic Pharmaceutics is headquartered in Oklahoma City, OK and is a portfolio company of the pharmaceutical accelerator, Ascend BioVentures. For more information, visit

About Ascend BioVentures

Ascend BioVentures is a virtual pharmaceutical accelerator focused on supporting startups focused on preclinical drug development. As a subsidiary of i2E, which has more than $92 million of investment capital under management, Ascend’s partners include the Presbyterian Health Foundation, Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, and the University of Oklahoma. Ascend is based in Oklahoma City, OK. For more information, visit

About the Hough Ear Institute

The Hough Ear Institute (HEI) is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization committed to restoring hearing worldwide through research, teaching and humanitarian efforts.

SOURCE: Autigen