GAITHERSBURG, Md., Nov. 5, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- GenVec, Inc. (GNVC) today announced that the company has achieved a milestone in its collaboration with Novartis for the development of treatments for hearing and balance disorders. Novartis has dosed the first patient in a clinical study to assess the safety, tolerability, and efficacy of intra-labyrinthine (IL) CGF166 in patients with severe hearing loss.  Under the terms of the collaboration agreement this triggers a $3 million milestone payment to GenVec.

"We are very excited about the initiation of this clinical trial," said Douglas E. Brough, Ph.D., GenVec's Chief Scientific Officer. "At every step of the study, key safety and efficacy data will be carefully monitored and evaluated and we expect to learn a great deal about the potential of CGF166 to restore hearing and balance function in the coming months."

"There are currently limited options and no drugs approved to treat hearing loss, and this trial is an important step in the development of a first-in-class therapy," said Douglas J. Swirsky, GenVec's President and CEO. "This milestone payment will enhance GenVec's operating runway as we continue our efforts to form additional collaborations and effectively exploit the potential of our proprietary technology."

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