Gene Therapy Deal Helps Double Shares of Beaten-Down Biotech

(Bloomberg) -- Axovant Sciences Ltd. investors are enjoying their first rays of light in months as the shares more than doubled on the company’s plan to license a gene therapy from Oxford BioMedica Plc.

Axovant agreed to pay the U.K.-listed company $30 million upfront in cash for rights to develop OXB-102 for Parkinson’s disease. Oxford could get an additional $812.5 million if certain development and sales milestones are reached.

Wednesday’s stock move suggests regained momentum after failed studies in Alzheimer’s disease and dementia erased more than $2 billion from the biotech company’s market value. Once trading at $26 per share, Axovant has languished in the one to two dollar range for months. The stock traded as high as $4.64 in New York on Wednesday. Meanwhile in London, Oxford BioMedica jumped 19 percent to 861 pence, its highest level in almost 10 years.

Gene Therapy Deal Helps Double Shares of Beaten-Down Biotech

As part of the agreement, Axovant’s founder, former hedge-fund manager Vivek Ramaswamy, will increase the controlling stake in Axovant held by Roivant Sciences Ltd with the purchase of another $25 million in the London-based company.

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