Novartis yesterday announced a licence option agreement with Voyager Therapeutics, a gene therapy company focussed on next-generation Adeno-Associated Virus (AAV) technologies, for three capsids to use in potential gene therapies for neurological diseases, with options to access capsids for two other targets, Novartis said in a statement.
Under the terms of the agreement, Novartis will have the right to evaluate novel capsids from Voyager’s TRACER platform (which stands for Tropism Redirection of AAV by Cell type-specific Expression of RNA) and to exercise options to license capsids for exclusive use in Novartis’ development of AAV gene therapies directed to three targets. Novartis has the right to license capsids for two additional disease targets under the same terms. Voyager will receive an upfront payment, with additional payments for each exercised option, as well as future milestones and sales-based royalties, it notified.
Novartis seeks to apply its expertise and recent learnings to neurological diseases that manifest in deep brain regions where commonly used vectors have not been shown to effectively target and penetrate.
Data suggest that AAV capsids emerging from Voyager’s proprietary TRACER platform may show broad and improved distribution to neurons in the cortex and deeper brain regions, added the statement.