The CSL Limited (ASX: CSL) share price is slightly lower today despite announcing plans to buy rights for novel late-stage gene therapy candidate.
In late afternoon trade, the global biotech's shares are swapping hands for $276.06, down 0.5%.
What did CSL announce?
Investors appear unfazed by the company's latest release, sending its shares in negative territory.
Founded in 1998, uniQure is a late-stage gene therapy company that is developing etranacogene dezaparvovec (AMT-061) to treat haemophilia B.
The deal, announced last June will give CSL rights to commercialise and sell AMT-061 if approved.
CSL stated that this could be one of the first gene therapies to provide potentially long-term benefits to patients with haemophilia B.
One dose of AMT-061 has shown to increase Factor IX (FIX) plasma levels to a degree that reduces or eliminates the tendency for bleeding for many years. FIX is the blood-clotting protein lacking in people with haemophilia B.
Should AMT-061's trial be successful, appropriate candidate haemophilia B patients will be able to have a one-time treatment to restore FIX activity to functional levels capable of eliminating the need for frequent and ongoing replacement therapies.
What's in the deal?
Under the terms of the deal, uniQure will receive an upfront cash payment of US$450 million next week. This will be followed by regulatory and commercial sales milestone payments and royalties.
CSL stated that uniQure will conclude its Phase 3 HOPE-B trial and commence manufacturing for an initial commercial supply. In turn, CSL Behring will look after regulatory submissions and commercialisation.
CSL CEO and managing director, Paul Perreault commented:
We are continuing to build on our legacy of delivering lifesaving innovations in haematology with today's news. This agreement enables us to take forward a gene therapy that, if approved, has the potential to transform the lives of haemophilia B patients.
Etranacogene dezaparvovec has the potential to be the first-ever gene therapy approved for haemophilia B and help CSL Behring deliver on our ongoing commitment to improving the lives of those living with haemophilia B.
How has the CSL share price performed lately?
Since early March, CSL shares have begun their accent to levels achieved in mid-January. Year-to-date performance is marginally lower at around 2%, however, it seems the worst is behind the company. Just yesterday, CSL released its presentation for the upcoming Macquarie Group Ltd (ASX: MQG) conference, citing an update on plasma collections.
CSL has a market capitalisation of around $126 billion, with approximately 455.1 million shares on issue.