Sanofi SA (ADR) (NYSE:SNY) subsidiary Genzyme has embarked on an $845 million gene therapy partnership with Voyager Therapeutics having already paid $100 million upfront with the remaining $745 million to come in the course of the partnership. The deal does not come as a surprise as the pharmaceutical company has been aligning itself in the industry with a string of partnerships on a number of programs.
Under the new partnership, Voyager is to take the lead on programs involving Parkinson disease, Friedreichs ataxia as well as CNS disorders. Voyager will receive $65 million in cash from the Sanofi SA (ADR) (NYSE:SNY) subsidiary with an additional $30 million in equity investment and the remaining in additional in-kind contributions. Voyager is to drive most of the development activities while working with Genzyme in a highly collaborative way.
Genzyme on its part stands to enjoy a chance of licensing a number of programs following the completion of an initial proof of concept in clinical trials. Voyager will still retain rights to its lead product programs in Parkinson disease as well as the Friedreich’s ataxia. Voyager is to split its profits for the Huntington’s disease program with the Sanofi SA (ADR) (NYSE:SNY) subsidiary while it also retains the rights to the amyotrophic lateral sclerosis program.
The partnership according to the two companies will be of much help in converting the promise of gene therapy for various CNS therapies, which should have an impact on patient lives. Having inked the agreement, Voyager has affirmed plans to boost its staff of 35 by about 50% as work on the various programs gain momentum. The two research teams are also in the process of forming steering committees that are to be used to get the work done.
Voyager will also be looking to leverage Genzyme expertise in Gene therapy having maintained a front row seat in the space for over two decades. The voyager deal is not a one-time according to Genzyme whose specialist are looking at gene therapy for treating other diseases while complimenting their competency on enzyme replacement.