Shares of Opexa Therapeutics got a badly needed bump after the biotech announced that it had struck a deal to sell its preclinical stem cell technology to Novartis for $4 million in upfront and technology transfer fees and around $50 million in potential milestone payments. Opexa will sign over a licensing pact it inked with the University of Chicago.
Opexa's lead therapy is Tovaxin, a T-cell vaccine for multiple sclerosis. Its stock jumped from 47 cents a share to 80 cents on the news.
"This represents a great opportunity for Opexa," said Neil K. Warma, CEO of The Woodlands, TX-based biotech. "Novartis is one of the premier pharmaceutical companies and the expertise they bring to this program will undoubtedly advance the technology significantly. This agreement will also allow us to firmly focus our attention on our key clinical asset, Tovaxin."