Axovant Sciences’ stock price trajectory
Between March 31 and June 8, Axovant Sciences (AXON) stock rose ~284% from $1.69 to $4.80, largely due to the company’s entry into lentiviral vector gene therapy for PD (Parkinson’s disease) through a licensing arrangement with Oxford BioMedica. Axovant Sciences has secured worldwide development and commercialization rights for its investigational therapy, AXO-Lenti-PD, which aims to restore dopamine in the striatum of PD patients’ brain.
This deal marks Axovant’s entry into the field of neurodegenerative conditions. According to the arrangement, Oxford BioMedica is to manufacture and supply AXO-Lenti-PD to Axovant Sciences, which will focus on the therapy’s clinical, regulatory, and commercial development.
Parkinson’s disease market opportunities
According to Axovant Sciences, PD affects almost 1% of people above 60 years of age, which amounts to a global disease prevalence of 7 million–10 million. This neurodegenerative condition is characterized by the brain losing its ability to produce dopamine, a neurotransmitter required for controlling motor functions. PD patients demonstrate symptoms such as rigidity, bradykinesia, and tremors.
While oral levodopa is the standard of care for PD, with disease progression, the drug is less effective, and PD patients may experience dyskinesia in advanced stages of the disease.
The high disease prevalence and limited treatment options make PD an underserved market opportunity for Axovant Sciences. If approved by the regulatory authorities, AXO-Lenti-PD could enable Axovant Sciences to compete with PD treatment players such as Acorda Therapeutics, (ACOR), Abbott Laboratories (ABT), and Eli Lilly (LLY). In the next article, we’ll discuss the Axovant Sciences–Oxford Biomedical deal in greater detail.