Voyager Therapeutics Announces Selection of Development Candidate for GBA1 Program in Collaboration With Neurocrine Biosciences, Triggering Milestone Payment

Voyager Therapeutics, Inc. recently announced the joint steering committee with its collaborator Neurocrine Biosciences has selected a lead development candidate in the GBA1 gene therapy program for the potential treatment of Parkinson’s disease and other GBA1-mediated diseases. The candidate combines a GBA1 gene replacement payload with an intravenously administered, blood-brain barrier penetrant, novel capsid derived from Voyager’s TRACER capsid discovery platform. The companies expect to file an Investigational New Drug (IND) application with the FDA for the program in 2025.

Selection of the development candidate triggered a $3-million milestone payment to Voyager, which the company expects to receive in the second quarter of 2024. Voyager is eligible to receive additional future development and commercialization milestone payments based on the further advancement of this program.

“The nomination of this development candidate in the GBA1 program, following the recent nomination of a development candidate in the Friedreich’s ataxia program, demonstrates the productivity of the collaboration between Voyager and Neurocrine to advance gene therapies for neurological diseases,” said Alfred W. Sandrock, Jr., MD, PhD, Chief Executive Officer of Voyager. “We now see the potential for three gene therapies leveraging our novel TRACER capsids to enter the clinic in 2025: the Neurocrine-partnered GBA1 and FA programs, and our wholly-owned SOD1 ALS program.”

The GBA1 program is being developed under the 2023 strategic collaboration agreement between Voyager and Neurocrine Biosciences for research, development, manufacture, and commercialization of certain AAV gene therapy products for programs targeting Parkinson’s disease and other GBA1-mediated diseases and three other undisclosed programs to address central nervous system diseases or conditions associated with rare genetic targets. Under the terms of the 2023 collaboration agreement, Voyager is eligible to receive up to $1.5 billion in potential development milestone payments, as well as additional commercial milestone payments, tiered royalties on net sales, and program funding. Voyager maintains an option to elect 50/50 cost- and profit-sharing in the U.S. for the GBA1 program following topline data from the first Parkinson’s disease clinical trial.

Voyager’s TRACER (Tropism Redirection of AAV by Cell-type-specific Expression of RNA) capsid discovery platform is a broadly applicable, RNA-based screening platform that enables rapid discovery of AAV capsids with robust penetration of the blood-brain barrier and enhanced central nervous system (CNS) tropism in multiple species, including non-human primates (NHPs). TRACER™ generated capsids have demonstrated superior and widespread gene expression in the CNS compared to conventional AAV capsids as well as cell- and tissue-specific transduction, including to areas of the brain that have been traditionally difficult to reach, while de-targeting the liver and dorsal root ganglia. As part of its external partnership strategy, Voyager has established multiple collaboration agreements providing access to its next-generation TRACER™ capsids to potentially enable its partners’ gene therapy programs to treat a variety of diseases.

Voyager Therapeutics, Inc. (Nasdaq: VYGR) is a biotechnology company dedicated to leveraging the power of human genetics to modify the course of – and ultimately cure – neurological diseases. Our pipeline includes programs for Alzheimer’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Parkinson’s disease, and multiple other diseases of the central nervous system. Many of our programs are derived from our TRACER AAV capsid discovery platform, which we have used to generate novel capsids and identify associated receptors to potentially enable high brain penetration with genetic medicines following intravenous dosing. Some of our programs are wholly owned, and some are advancing with partners including Alexion, AstraZeneca Rare Disease; Novartis Pharma AG; Neurocrine Biosciences, Inc.; and Sangamo Therapeutics, Inc. For more information, visit