Voyager Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ: VYGR) has announced a deal through which Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE) could license novel capsids generated from the company’s RNA-driver TRACER screening tech. The agreement is part of Pfizer’s initiatives to create, manufacture, and market gene therapies that use two undisclosed transgenes in treating some neurologic and cardiovascular diseases.
TRACER platform vital in the identification of novel AAV capsids
Michael Higgins, the Voyager interim CEO, said, “This transaction highlights the potential of our TRACER platform to identify novel AAV capsids that target desired cells and tissues with greater specificity at lower doses and with fewer off-target risks than conventional AAV serotypes. We believe that our TRACER platform has the ability to produce not only enhanced blood-brain-barrier penetrant capsids, but also novel capsids with enhanced tropisms across a diversity of tissues and cell types, offering promise to unlock the fullest potential of gene therapies for a wide array of diseases with unmet medical need.”
Pfizer SVP and Chief Scientific Officer of Rare Disease Research Unit Seng Cheng said, “Our collaboration with Voyager will provide Pfizer with access to additional AAV capsids that may help further advance our industry-leading gene therapy portfolio. We are impressed with Voyager’s results to date and are enthusiastic about the potential to utilize these novel capsids to help accelerate the development of new therapeutic options for patients living with certain neurologic and cardiovascular diseases.”
Voyager to receive $30 million upfront
Pfizer will have the right to assess novel capsids from Voyager’s TRACER platform for cardiac tropisms and the central nervous system. It will also exercise options to license capsids for exclusive use in the development of AAV gene therapies incorporating two undisclosed transgenes. Voyager will receive an upfront payment of $30 million and will be entitled to $20 million in exercise fees. Also, Voyager will be entitled to $580 million in development and commercial milestones.