GenVec achieved its third milestone in a collaboration with Novartis going back to 2010 to develop treatments for hearing and balance disorders. Per the agreement’s terms, GenVec is receiving a $2 million payment that was triggered after an IND application Novartis filed in January with the FDA for the clinical development of CGF166—the lead product candidate under the collaboration—was deemed effective on February 7.

GenVec could receive over $200 million from Novartis in upfront and milestone payments and royalties per the original 2010 agreement, and GenVec CEO and president Douglas J. Swirsky said in a statement that the next milestone payment will be triggered by the first patient visit in CGF166’s Phase I trial. “We are very excited that our novel regenerative approach to addressing the leading cause of hearing loss will soon be in clinical testing,” he added.

This is good news for GenVec, which went through a rocky patch last year as GenVec’s board agreed to liquidate and dissolve the firm in May, two months after reporting a 47% year-over-year drop in annual revenue the preceding year. However, a few months later in September, the company withdrew that plan in favor of a new strategy focused on maximizing the value of the firm’s technology and assets (including the above-mentioned Novartis collaboration) and a change in leadership, with former CFO and svp Swirsky taking over the roles of CEO and president from Cynthia Collins.

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