Genzyme Announces $845-Million Gene Therapy Deal

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Genzyme will partner with Voyager Therapeutics for the discovery, development, and commercialization of novel gene therapies for central nervous system disorders.

Genzyme announced on Feb. 11, 2015 that it will work with Voyager Therapeutics to bring therapies to market for the treatment of various neurological diseases. "This strategic collaboration provides significant funding to drive the development of our expanded product pipeline, while also allowing Voyager to continue to thrive as an independent company," said Steven Paul, Voyager's CEO, in a press release.

Under terms of the agreement, Genzyme will grant $100 million to Voyager, including $65 million in cash and a $30 million equity investment in the company. Voyager stands to make up to $745 million in milestone payments and is also eligible to receive royalties on product sales.

In terms of product rights, Voyager will retain rights in the US to its lead product programs in Parkinson’s disease and Friedreich’s ataxia. For its Huntington’s disease program in the US, Voyager will split the profits with Genzyme. Voyager will retain all of the rights to its amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) program, which is not part of the agreement with Genzyme.

The news of the collaboration with Voyager was released on the same day that Sanofi announced 100 job cuts at its Cambridge, Massachusetts, R&D facility. According to TheBoston Globe, 70 of the positions being eliminated will be at the Sanofi Genzyme Research and Development Center, which focuses primarily on rare diseases, while 30 of the eliminations will occur at a Sanofi cancer research.


Bloomberg reports that Tal Zacks, who led the oncology unit, will leave the company, and Sanofi’s oncology research will be led by Vicky Richon. The company will reportedly refocus its Genzyme division on therapies for rare disease and neurological disorders, while cancer research operations will move to the global R&D division. The cancer unit that is closing was created after CEO Chris Viehbacher, who was recently ousted as CEO, took over at Sanofi.