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The Gene Therapy Names Moving On The Audentes Buyout Deal

Shanthi Rexaline

Gene therapy company Audentes Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ: BOLD) announced a deal late Monday to be acquired by Japanese pharma company ASTELLAS PHARMA/ADR (OTC: ALPMY) for $60 per share, representing a 110% premium over Audentes' Monday closing price. 

Audentes shares are trading close to the offer price, and the news has lifted other gene therapy names.

The movers include:

  • Uniqure NV (NASDAQ: QURE), up 15.92% to $63.50. Uniqure's CEO is also participating in a fireside chat at the Piper Jaffray Healthcare Conference Tuesday. 
  • Abeona Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ: ABEO), up 1.17%% to $3.45. 
  • Orchard Therapeutics PLC – ADR (NASDAQ: ORTX), up 4.72% to $11.53.
  • Regenxbio Inc (NASDAQ: RGNX), up 9.76% to $44.65.
  • Sangamo Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ: SGMO), up 6.27% to $11.36. 
  • BioMarin Pharmaceutical Inc. (NASDAQ: BMRN), up 0.28% to $80.08. 
  • Ultragenyx Pharmaceutical Inc (NASDAQ: RARE), up 6.49% to $41.68. 
  • Sarepta Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ: SRPT), up 3.32% to $112.39. 
  • Editas Medicine Inc (NASDAQ: EDIT), up 0.77% to $30.13. 

Gene Therapy Trending Among Therapeutic Options 

Gene therapy, a relatively novel therapeutic option, refers to the treatment of diseases by replacing, supplementing or altering a gene that is absent or abnormal.

It works well for rare and orphan diseases that have no approved treatment options and is considered to be a patient-friendly therapeutic option. 

Novartis AG (NYSE: NVS)'s gene therapy Zolgensma was approved in late May and is indicated to treat spinal muscular atrophy Type 1.

Spark Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ: ONCE), which has agreed to be acquired by Roche Holdings AG Basel ADR (OTC: RHHBY), is credited with the first gene therapy in Luxturna, which is indicated to treat adults and children with inherited retinal disorder that could lead to vision loss.

Although gene therapies are priced exorbitantly, they are long-acting and efficacious relative to traditional therapies.

More M&A In The Pipeline?

Since most gene therapy names are cash-strapped, it is tough for them to pursue expensive R&D and commercialization activities as standalone companies.

This apart, the potential and prospects presented by gene therapies have led bigger biopharma companies to swoop down on their smaller counterparts to add to their product pipelines. 

It shouldn't come as a surprise if the market hears more M&A news from the space in the coming days.

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