GenVec saw its shares surge this morning on the back of a newly announced pact with the global pharma company Novartis. Under the terms of the $213 million deal, Novartis will collaborate with GenVec on its preclinical program for hearing loss and balance disorders. GenVec gets $5 million of that upfront, with a $2 million stock buy--worth 1 percent of its market valuation--and $213 million in scheduled milestones. Novartis gains worldwide rights to the program.
According to GenVec, delivering the atonal gene with its adenovector delivery tech has the potential to restore hearing and balance function, which go hand in hand. "Hearing loss is a significant and growing problem for millions of people," GenVec CEO Paul Fischer says in a statement. "Our technology has great promise and this collaboration provides an excellent mechanism to move the development of new treatments forward."
GenVec's shares (GNVC) jumped more than 20 percent on the news. Its adenovectors are engineered to deliver genes into targeted cells, spurring production of therapeutic proteins. Its lead drug is the pancreatic cancer treatment TNFeradeT.