The event: Phase IIb study of SB-509 in diabetic neuropathy.
The timeline: Top-line results to be announced in the second half of 2011.
The stakes: The legitimacy of zinc-finger drug technology, which Sangamo has been developing for years on its own. SB-509 is an engineered protein, or "zinc finger," specifically designed to turn on a gene to restart nerve growth. Previously reported data from earlier studies of SB-509 in diabetic neuropathy have produced mixed results and a significant level of investor skepticism about the technology. Sangamo has the opportunity with the looming results from the phase IIb study in diabetic neuropathy to silence the critics and push SB-509 and the entire zinc-finger drug technology platform forward into pivotal late-stage studies and perhaps lucrative partnership deals. To get there, the data from the study need to demonstrate that SB-509 can improve the health and function of damaged nerves.