Pfizer Agrees to License Agreement with Voyager Therapeutics

Pfizer may pay up to $630 million for access to Voyager’s novel AAV capsids in transgene research.

Voyager Therapeutics, a gene therapy company, announced on Oct. 6, 2021 that it had entered into a licensing agreement with Pfizer for the use of its tropism redirection of adeno-associated virus (AAV) by cell-type-specific expression of RNA (TRACER) platform. Pfizer will pay Voyager $30 million for transgene-specific access to their novel AAV capsids, with additional payments of up to $600 million available in option exercise fees, milestone payments, and product royalties.

Voyager’s TRACER system is a RNA-based functional screening platform that allows for in-vivo evolution of AAV capsids with enhanced tropisms and cell- and tissue-specific transduction properties in multiple species. According to a Voyager press release, Pfizer will use this system to investigate potential use of two undisclosed transgenes to treat certain neurological and cardiovascular diseases.

“This transaction highlights the potential of our TRACER platform to identify novel AAV capsids that target desired cells and tissues with greater specificity at lower doses and with fewer off-target risks than conventional AAV serotypes,” said Michael Higgins, interim CEO of Voyager, in the press release. “We believe that our TRACER platform has the ability to produce not only enhanced blood-brain-barrier penetrant capsids, but also novel capsids with enhanced tropisms across a diversity of tissues and cell types, offering promise to unlock the fullest potential of gene therapies for a wide array of diseases with unmet medical need.”

"Our collaboration with Voyager will provide Pfizer with access to additional AAV capsids that may help further advance our industry-leading gene therapy portfolio,” said Seng Cheng, senior vice-president and chief scientific officer of Pfizer's Rare Disease Research Unit, in the press release. “We are impressed with Voyager’s results to date and are enthusiastic about the potential to utilize these novel capsids to help accelerate the development of new therapeutic options for patients living with certain neurologic and cardiovascular diseases.”

Source: Voyager Therapeutics