Benitec Biopharma Limited (NASDAQ: BNTC) is gaining big, and when we say big this morning. In fact, the gains are easier stated in multiples than percentages after the company announced a licensing agreement that’s clearly leading to excitment among investors. Today, we’ll talk about:
- The licensing agreement;
- what we’re seeing from BNTC as a result; and
- what we’ll be watching for ahead.
BNTC Flies On Licensing Agreement News
As mentioned above, Benitec Biopharma is having an incredibly strong start to the trading session this monring after announcing a licensing agreement. In a press release issued early this morning, the company announced that it has licensed global rights surrounding BB-301 to Axovant Sciences (NASDAQ: AXON). Under the terms of the agreement, BB-301, a treatment designed for patients with oculopharyngeal muscular dystrophy (OPMD), will be renamed AXO-AAV-OPMD. Also, the company said that it has entered into a fully funded research collaboration for the development of five additional gene therapy products in neurological disorders.
According to the terms of the agreement, BNTC will receive an upfront cash payment of $10 million as well as additional cash payments coming to a total of $17.5 million upon the completion of four specific near-term manufacturing, regulatory and clinical milestones. In exchange, AXON has been granted worldwide rights to develop AXO-AAV-OPMD and will assume all future development costs. In total, the value of the development, regulatory and commercial milestones, which may be achieved by Benitec, including 8 milestones, 4 of which are near term, comes to $187.5 million. Also, BNTC will retain 30% of net profits on worldwide sales of AXO-AAV-OPMD.
In a statement, Jerel Banks, MD, PhD, Executive Chairman at BNTC, had the following to offer:
Today marks a milestone for Benitec as we believe this transaction to be transformative for our company. In addition to bolstering our opportunity to drive broad-based, clinically meaningful patient benefit across several areas of clinical medicine with true unmet need, this partnership significantly enhances the financial, intellectual, and clinical development resources available to facilitate our efforts to build Benitec into a diversified biopharmaceutical company. The non-dilutive capital expected over the near term will allow Benitec to continue to invest in proprietary R&D programs across a range of indications.
Our management team is focused exclusively on expanding the research, development, and commercial opportunities for the core ‘silence-and-replace’ platform with the dual goals of enhancing patient benefit and generating shareholder value. We believe Axovant is the ideal partner to advance our OPMD program, and we look forward to working closely with them to develop AXO-AAV-OPMD as we quickly progress towards clinical trials in 2019.
What We’re Seeing From The Stock
One of the first lessons that we learn when we start to dig into the market is that the news causes moves, and with such positive news breaking this morning, it only makes sense that we’re seeing strong gains out of Benitec this morning. Of course, our partners at Trade Ideas were the first to alert us to the gains. Currently (8:54), BNTC is trading at $4.90 per share after a gain of $2.70 per share or 122.22% thus far today.
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What We’ll Be Watching For Ahead
Moving forward, the CNA Finance team will continue to keep a close eye on BNTC. In particular, we’re interested in following the story surrounding the continued development of AXO-AAV-OPMD and the milestones achieved through the program. We’re also interested in following the development of the new gene therapies that were announced this morning. Nonetheless, we’ll continue to follow the story closely and bring the news to you as it breaks!
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