Santen’s dedication to help people realize their happiness through vision fuels the need to treat and potentially cure ophthalmology diseases. Cell and gene therapies are the future of healthy vision.

What is cell and gene therapy?

Cells are the basic units that make up our tissues and perform bodily functions. In some cases, cells may not function properly. Cell therapy involves placing new or altered cells into the body to replace or repair the damaged ones or delay the progression of a disease. A gene is a unit of DNA which instructs the formation of proteins that often perform important functions in the body’s cells. Sometimes, there can be errors or mutations in the genes, leading to genetic diseases which can be passed down to future generations. Gene therapy involves the introduction of a healthy copy of the gene into the cells, to treat or potentially cure genetic diseases. In some cases, a therapy can be considered to be both a cell and gene therapy. The genes in specific types of cells can be modified before being (re)introduced into the patient to fight disease, address a gene mutation, or restore cell function. By harnessing the power of these rapidly developing technologies, we can potentially treat diseases for which there are currently no treatments.

Our vision and mission

Since the establishment of Santen Cell & Gene , we have been working tirelessly to achieve our vision of unlocking the power of cell and gene therapies to restore vision and transform lives. The team is led by Marianthi Psaha, a global leader in the pharmaceutical industry who recently led the launch of the first ever gene therapy in ophthalmology. In 2022, Marianthi’s contribution to cell and gene therapies, and Santen’s potential to address significant unmet needs in ophthalmology, was recognized through her inclusion in the “Advanced Medicine” section of Medicine Maker’s annual “Power List”.

“Through our continuous commitment and by developing our organization dedicated to ophthalmic cell and gene therapies, we aim to transform the lives of patients suffering from seriously disabling conditions by accelerating the development and delivery of innovative therapies targeting high unmet medical needs.”

Marianthi Psaha Global Head, Cell & Gene Business Segment

The beginning of our story

In 2020, we in-licensed the rights to the development and commercialization of a cell therapy targeting retinitis pigmentosa(RP), one of the most common inherited retinal diseases (IRDs). IRDs are a group of rare eye diseases affecting between 1 in 2000*1 and 1 in 3000*2people worldwide. They represent the primary cause of vision loss in people of working age, and a common cause of visual impairment in childhood*3. Given their significant impact, IRDs are one of the focus areas of Santen Cell & Gene. Find out more about our ambition by watching our short video.

*1 Source: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29659558/
*2 and *3 Source: https://ird.retinaint.org/irds/

Collaborating for innovation

We operate on a business model based on open innovation to create and source the best science, technology and transformative products. We believe that by collaborating with those at the forefront of innovation, we can deliver life-changing therapies. We are focusing on finding solutions for patients who have no alternative treatment options such as in inherited retinal diseases (IRDs), optic neuropathy and severe corneal dystrophy. We are committed to developing solutions that bring long-term value to patients and the entire healthcare community.

Meet our leadership team

“We are focused on building strong relationship with scientists, clinicians, institutions, and biotech companies to innovate together to care for patients whose visual impairment limits their lives. We offer a deep heritage in ophthalmology and a global presence uniquely combined with the focus and expertise of a dedicated cell and gene therapy team.”

Dr.Fadi Eskandar, VP Global Head of Innovation & Alliances, Cell & Gene Therapy

“Along with Santen’s core value of people centricity, agility and cross functionality are at the heart of our strategy and way of working. By ensuring we have the mindset and tools necessary to achieve a long-term presence in the cell and gene therapy field, we can bring new solutions for people facing vision impairment.”

Dr. Gil Carrasquinho, VP Global Head of Strategy, Operations and Assets, Cell & Gene Therapy

Click here for more members of the leadership team

Our commitment to patients and society

Our goal is to set up connections and collaboration to understand the needs of people living with visual impairment and their caregivers, and offer them the best possible experience. We advocate for an environment that better addresses their unmet needs by supporting patient organizations, raising disease awareness, and contributing to industry discussions. By bringing transformative therapies and access solutions to patients, we aim to address the challenges they face in their daily lives.

“Listening to, and working with, the patient community is a foundational component of our journey to developing innovative solutions to improve patients’ quality of life.”

Hui-Ting Hsieh, Associate Director, Patient Advocacy Strategy, Cell & Gene Therapy

“Through cell and gene therapies, we have the potential to benefit not only patients and their caregivers, but society at large. We’re committed to working directly with policymakers, advocacy organizations, and other stakeholders to achieve the greatest possible impact.”

Nadiya Deferne, Lead, Public Affairs & Communication, Cell & Gene Therapy

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