Why This New Collaboration Is Incredible for Voyager Therapeutics

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On Friday, Voyager Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ: VYGR) announced a collaboration with pharma giant AbbVie Inc. (NYSE: ABBV) to develop and commercialize vectorized antibodies directed at pathological species of alpha-synuclein for the potential treatment of Parkinson’s disease and other diseases (synucleinopathies) characterized by the abnormal accumulation of misfolded alpha-synuclein protein.

Parkinson’s disease is the second most common neurodegenerative disorder worldwide. A hallmark of Parkinson’s disease is the accumulation of misfolded alpha-synuclein that eventually can lead to the formation of protein deposits and progressive neurodegeneration.

The delivery of sufficient quantities of antibodies across the blood-brain barrier is one of the major limitations of current biologic therapies for neurodegenerative diseases that require frequent systemic injections with large amounts of antibodies.

AbbVie will be looking to use Voyager’s vectorized antibody platform and approach to circumvent this limitation by delivering the genes that encode for the production of therapeutic antibodies utilizing Voyager’s blood-brain barrier penetrant adeno-associated virus capsids. This approach could result in the potential for higher levels of therapeutic antibodies in the brain compared with current systemic administration of antibodies.

Jim Summers, Ph.D., vice president of discovery neuroscience research at AbbVie, commented:

The expansion of AbbVie’s partnership with Voyager represents the potential we see in the ability of its vectorized antibody platform to surpass the blood-brain barrier and more effectively deliver biologic therapies. We are hopeful that Voyager’s technology will enable further development of transformative treatments for patients with neurodegenerative diseases.

Shares of Voyager were last seen up 27% at $13.58, in a 52-week range of $7.76 to $31.91. The stock has a consensus price target of $24.64.

AbbVie traded at $78.76 a share. The 52-week trading range is $75.77 to $122.00, and the consensus analyst target is $92.18.

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