On January 3, 2024, during the pre-market hours, Voyager Therapeutics, Inc. (VYGR) experienced a noteworthy upswing that grabbed the attention of financial observers. The stock made a significant climb, reaching $10.9404, showcasing a substantial change of 29.6256%.
This upward movement coincided with a substantial trading volume, with 1.48 million shares changing hands. The pre-market surge in Voyager Therapeutics sets an intriguing tone for the day, prompting a closer examination of the factors fueling this movement.
This early market activity has piqued the curiosity of market participants, sparking anticipation for potential outcomes as the trading day progresses.
What happened Recently
On January 2, 2024, Swiss pharmaceutical firm Novartis revealed a fresh collaboration with its partner, Voyager Therapeutics, sealing an agreement on Tuesday to license one experimental gene therapy and acquire the tools for developing another.
As part of this collaboration, Novartis is set to make an upfront payment of $100 million to the biotechnology company, including $20 million in stock. The total deal could potentially reach an impressive $1.2 billion.
In exchange, Novartis secures global rights to an experimental gene therapy targeting Huntington’s disease. Additionally, Novartis gains a license to utilize Voyager’s gene therapy delivery tools for crafting a treatment for spinal muscular atrophy (SMA).
This agreement signifies an expansion of Novartis’ existing partnership with Voyager, which originated in 2022 and saw further development in the past year.
Details of the Agreement
Novartis, recognized as a prominent developer in the field of gene therapy, made significant strides in 2019 with the approval of its spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) treatment, Zolgensma, marking one of the earliest genetic medicines authorized for use in the U.S. Since then, Zolgensma has emerged as the most lucrative product in the gene therapy sector.
Despite the progress, the gene therapy landscape has encountered challenges in recent years, grappling with technological constraints and commercial uncertainties.
The industry has faced additional hurdles due to a market downturn, compelling several companies to undergo restructuring, trim research activities, or cease operations altogether.
Novartis has maintained a keen interest in Voyager, particularly focusing on the company’s efforts to enhance the delivery of gene therapies to challenging organs like the brain through its TRACER technology.
This technology has been involved in partnerships with Pfizer and Neurocrine Biosciences and received support from Novartis during a sector-wide downturn.
With the latest announcement on Tuesday, Novartis has collaborated with Voyager for the third time since 2022. The initial agreement granted Novartis options to license Voyager’s “capsids,” the protective viral shells facilitating the delivery of gene therapies. Subsequently, Novartis exercised some of these options a year later.
The current alliance signifies a deeper engagement, granting Novartis full rights to a preclinical program addressing Huntington’s disease and exclusive access to capsids essential for creating a gene therapy for SMA.
For Novartis, this agreement signifies another strategic move in addressing Huntington’s disease, a challenging target for drug developers.