Biotech Investing

In the midst of a quiet time for the biotech industry, partnerships remain consistent and are keeping investors interested in the sector.

In the midst of a quiet time for the biotech industry, partnerships remain consistent and are keeping investors interested in the sector.

On Tuesday (April 10), Wave Life Sciences (NASDAQ:WVE), together with private company Deep Genomics, announced a collaboration to discover novel therapies for genetic neuromuscular disorders.

The two hope to build a new universe of genetic medicines using Deep Genomics’ machine learning-driven biomedical platform to identify cause-and-effect relationships specific to neuromuscular-related targets. Wave will use its chemistry platform to validate targets and explain its implications intervention across phenotypes to expand the company’s pipeline of oligonucleotides.

“We believe this collaboration will enable a more profound understanding of splicing biology and illuminate new approaches to increase the size of patient populations with genetic neuromuscular disorders that may be eligible for treatment,” Paul Bolno, CEO of Wave, said in a press release.

“We intend to use these new insights to expand the universe of druggable splicing targets beyond Duchenne muscular dystrophy and spinal muscular atrophy and direct our highly efficient stereopure oligonucleotides toward optimal regions or sequences within those targets,” he added.

Brendan Frey, CEO of Deep Genomics, shared similar sentiments, explaining that the collaboration will “complement [its] discovery platform, which combines automation, high volume data acquisition and genome biology in a machine learning system.”

The partnership will build on Wave’s current research and development in the splice correction programs, including the lead Duchenne muscular dystrophy program. WVE-210201 is an investigational therapy targeting patients’ exon 51 skipping in a Phase 1 clinical trial. The interim efficacy readout of the Phase 1 study is projected for sometime in 2019.

Deep Genomics is developing an artificial intelligence-powered discovery platform to create new therapeutic targets, combining automation, biomedical knowledge, data and machine learning. The company focuses on therapeutic needs in metabolic, neurodegenerative and neuromuscular disorders through nucleic acid-based therapeutic modalities.

Investor takeaway

Wave’s share price increased 9.17 percent on Monday (April 9) before the news was released, and its rally continued into Tuesday’s trading following the announcement, although the increase was lower. Wave’s share price increased by 6.47 percent to $46.35 in the afternoon on Tuesday, and later evened out to an overall 1.96-percent increase over a one-day trading period to close at $44.30.

According to TipRanks, the most recent analyst report on the company came on March 19. Mizuho analyst Salim Syed reiterated a “buy” rating and raised his price target to $65 from $34. The report was made after the company’s share price spiked following positive Q4 2017 financial results.

In the last year, Wave’s share price has seen a 161-percent increase since its 52-week low of $15.25. With this collaboration, 2018 should be a positive year for both Wave and Deep Genomics.

Don’t forget to follow @INN_LifeScience for real-time updates!

Securities Disclosure: I, Gabrielle Lakusta, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.


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