Voyager $VYGR plans to launch a pivotal study of its leading gene therapy for Parkinson’s disease before the end of the year, but they won’t be doing it with Sanofi Genzyme as a partner.
The Cambridge, MA-based biotech says that Sanofi Genzyme opted not to pick up the option outlined in their $845 million deal, evidently because it didn’t include US rights.
Voyager’s shares drop 19% in after-market trading.
The option deal, of course, spelled out Voyager’s sole US rights on VY-AADC in Parkinson’s from the very beginning, leaving some unanswered questions about what prompted Sanofi Genzyme to change its mind this late in the game after initially agreeing to the ex-US rights on offer.
Sanofi $SNY gambled $100 million upfront in early 2015 on the hot gene therapy field, promising Voyager up to $745 million in milestones for their partnership on a full slate of development programs, capped by the leading Parkinson’s effort.
Voyager CEO Steve Paul said in a statement that he was “very pleased” by the fact that the company regained worldwide rights. Sanofi Genzyme remains a partner on Huntington’s disease and Friedreich’s ataxia, he added. Paul noted:
With a one-time administration that has been well tolerated, VY-AADC could penetrate the estimated 10,000 deep brain stimulation procedures worldwide each year for Parkinson’s disease and the further tens of thousands of advanced patients who do not elect to undergo deep brain stimulation.
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