Voyager Therapeutics has exercised commercial options for the use of Regenxbio’s NAV® vectors to develop and commercialize gene therapies for specific neurological diseases, the companies said today.

Upon exercise, Regenxbio has granted Voyager a nonexclusive worldwide commercial license to three NAV vector sequences developed through Regenxbio’s NAV Technology Platform, each for the treatment of a neurological disease. Voyager also gained rights to sublicense the vector sequences.

In return for the licensing rights, Voyager agreed to pay Regenxbio undisclosed upfront payments, ongoing fees, milestone payments, and royalties on net sales of products incorporating the licensed intellectual property, the companies said.

“Today’s announcement aligns with our stated goal of advancing our multiple preclinical programs during this year and into 2017 toward selection of lead clinical candidates,” Voyager President and CEO Steven Paul, M.D., said in a statement.  “Exercising the commercial options with Regenxbio represents an important step for our preclinical pipeline programs, and we are excited with the progress of our continued collaboration with Regenxbio.”

The exercise of options comes two and a half years after the companies launched their collaboration. At the time, Voyager said it would use Regenx’s NAV vectors to develop and commercialize gene therapies for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Friedreich's ataxia, and Huntington's disease.

In its Form 10-K annual report for 2015, filed March 17, Voyager said that if it exercised its commercial options by an undisclosed “specified date,” Regenx would receive from Voyager up to $1.5 million upfront, plus “an annual maintenance fee payment ranging from five digits to six digits, depending on the number of disease indication options exercised.”

In addition, Voyager said in the annual report, it would be required to pay Regenx “up to $5 million” in milestone fees per disease indication, mid- to high-single digit royalty percentages on net sales of licensed products, and low- to mid-single digit percentages of any sublicense fees received from sublicensees for the licensed intellectual property rights.

Regenxbio’s NAV Technology Platform, a proprietary adeno-associated virus (AAV) gene delivery platform, consists of exclusive rights to more than 100 novel AAV vectors, including AAV7, AAV8, AAV9, and AAVrh10. As of September 30, the platform was being applied in the development of 29 product candidates for a variety of diseases, including five internally developed candidates and 24 partnered candidates developed by Regenxbio licensees, the company said.

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