Voyager Therapeutics, Inc. (Nasdaq: VYGR), a pioneering biotechnology company dedicated to pushing the boundaries of gene therapy and neurology, has announced that Novartis Pharma AG (NYSE: NVS) has chosen to exercise its options to license novel capsids from Voyager’s TRACER™ capsid discovery platform for use in gene therapy programs targeting two undisclosed neurologic diseases. This marks a major milestone for Voyager in its mission to advance treatments for neurological illnesses.
Voyager is thrilled to announce its collaboration with Novartis to leverage its TRACER™ capsid discovery platform for gene therapy applications. This agreement, alongside funding from recent deals with Pfizer and Neurocrine Biosciences, reinforces Voyager’s financial stability and lays the foundation for further advancements of its platform and pipeline. Voyager believes intravenously-delivered, brain-penetrant capsids are essential to unlocking gene therapy for neurologic diseases, and is proud to be part of this journey with Novartis, a leader in the gene therapy field.
Voyager is thrilled to announce its agreement with Novartis for the option to license capsids for up to three central nervous system (CNS) targets. Through this agreement, Voyager has already received a $54 million upfront payment as well as a $25 million option exercise payment for two targets. Furthermore, Voyager could potentially receive up to $600 million in associated development, regulatory and commercial milestone payments, as well as mid- to high-single-digit tiered royalties based on sales of Novartis products incorporating the licensed capsids. To top it off, Novartis has the option to expand the agreement to include options to license capsids for up to two additional rare CNS targets over the next 18 months, for a fee of $18 million per target. If exercised, Voyager would be eligible to receive a $12.5 million license option exercise fee for each target, as well as future potential milestone payments of $300 million per target and tiered mid- to high-single digit royalties on products incorporating the licensed capsids. This is a golden opportunity for Voyager as it stands to benefit greatly from this agreement.
Voyager has secured exclusive global rights to two of Novartis’ targets, distinct from those in its own and partnered pipelines, under a new agreement. While Novartis has opted to forgo the licensing of a capsid for one CNS target, Voyager has further retained all rights to its TRACER technology for all other applications and licensed capsids for use with other targets.
About the TRACER™ AAV Capsid Discovery Platform
Voyager is revolutionizing the delivery of therapeutic treatments with its TRACER™ platform. This groundbreaking discovery platform uses RNA-based screening to rapidly find AAV capsids with enhanced penetration of the blood-brain barrier and CNS tropism in multiple species, including non-human primates. Results show that these capsids facilitate superior and widespread gene expression in the CNS, along with cell- and tissue-specific transduction in areas of the brain that have been traditionally hard to reach. In addition, some of the capsids have been shown to target cardiac muscle and de-target the dorsal root ganglia. Voyager is committed to expanding its library of AAV capsids to deliver diverse therapeutic payloads to treat a range of CNS and other diseases.
About Voyager Therapeutics
Voyager Therapeutics is a biotechnology company that is unlocking the potential of gene therapy and neurology through its TRACER™ AAV capsid discovery platform. This platform has enabled Voyager to generate novel capsids with high target delivery and blood-brain barrier penetration at low doses, potentially addressing the narrow therapeutic window associated with conventional gene therapy delivery vectors. Voyager is leveraging its expertise in capsid discovery and deep neuropharmacology to make progress within its own pipeline, seeking potential treatments for Alzheimer’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Parkinson’s disease, and Friedreich’s Ataxia. Additionally, Voyager has formed strategic alliances with Pfizer Inc., Novartis and Neurocrine Biosciences to further its mission to revolutionize gene therapy and neurology.