The licensing deal is for AXO-Lenti-PD from Oxford BioMedica. The Parkinson’s disease treatment delivers three genes encoding a set of enzymes required for dopamine synthesis in the brain.

Investors have expressed interest in Axovant (NASDAQ:AXON), which announced on Wednesday (June 6) it will license an investigational gene therapy for Parkinson’s disease.

According to the release, Axovant will receive US$25 million equity financing and add a new chief technology officer to the gene therapy program.

The licensing deal is for AXO-Lenti-PD from Oxford BioMedica (LSE:OXB), the Parkinson’s disease treatment delivers three genes encoding a set of enzymes required for dopamine synthesis in the brain. Axovant expects to initiate a Phase 1 dose escalation study of the drug by the end of the year.

“This is part of our long-term goal of building Axovant into a leader in the development and commercialization of innovative new medicines for neurological indications,” Pavan Cheruvu, CEO of Axovant said in the press release.

“We will continue to pursue promising new therapeutic approaches based on transformative science, and will further expand our pipeline with high-quality assets like AXO-Lenti-PD,” he added.

Axovant will have the rights for the licensing agreement to AXO-Lenti-PD along with its predecessor product ProSavin for an initial payment of $30 million in cash along with $5 million which will be applied as a credit against the development work and clinical supply that Oxford will provide for Axovant.

After further development and regulatory and commercial milestones are met, Oxford will be eligible to receive additional payments in accordance with the agreement, from Axovant.

The release also states that Roivant Sciences will purchase $25 million of Axovant’s common shares to support the clinical development of AXO-Lenti-PD and other business development activities.

Oxford BioMedica is a leading gene and cell therapy group focused on developing treatments for serious diseases. It has a portfolio of proprietary gene and cell therapy candidates for oncology, ophthalmology and central nervous system disorders. Aside from this partnership, the company has partnered with Novartis, Immune Design and GC LabCell for a multitude of genetic and cell therapy products.

“Coupled with strong support and financial resources from parent company Roivant, we believe Axovant is well positioned to advance the development of AXO-Lenti-PD for the treatment of patients with Parkinson’s, a disease which still has a high unmet need,” said John Dawson, CEO of Oxford.

Axovant is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company dedicated to advancing treatments for patient with serious neurologic and neuropsychiatric conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease. This is the company’s first attempt at a Parkinson’s disease treatment, other indications for it’s pipeline include Alzheimer’s disease and DLB or PDD.

Investor takeaway

Investors are showing a lot of interest in Axovant, whose share price increased 160 percent following Wednesday’s announcement. That bumped up to a 197.14-percent jump to $4.97 as of 3:00 p.m. EST on Thursday (June 7).

This is encouraging after the company’s September 2017 announcement of a failed Phase 3 trial of an investigational drug for Alzheimer’s disease, which decreased the company’s share price by 73.9 percent.

TipRanks shows two analysts issued notes about Axovant, both reiterating a “neutral” or “hold” position. H.C. Wainwright analyst Andrew Fein reiterated a “buy” position Thursday with an $11 price target.

Axovant anticipates initiating the Phase 1 clinical trial for this newly licensed drug by the end of the year. Investors interested in the company can check back for updates on this trial or other drug candidates.

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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