Sangamo spikes on $13M discovery pact with Shire

Shares of Sangamo BioSciences spiked 22% this morning after the Richmond, CA-based biotech announced plans to team up with Shire on a discovery pact to find new treatments for hemophilia and other monogenic ailments. Sangamo will bank $13 million upfront, as well as an unspecified set of milestones and a royalty on any approved treatments that emerge from the work.

Sangamo ($SGMO) also gains R&D support from Shire in the deal.

The deal marks an encouraging endorsement for Sangamo's zinc finger DNA-binding protein technology. ZFPs can be engineered to recognize a specific DNA sequence within a gene, making Sangamo a valuable partner as Shire explores new drugs for hematology and lysosomal storage disorders.

"Sangamo's ground-breaking ZFP gene-editing technology will enable us to expand our therapeutic pipeline into therapies for other genetic disorders such as hemophilia," said Sylvie Gregoire, president of Shire's Human Genetic Therapies business.

Sangamo needed a shot in the arm. The biotech was forced to scuttle its lead drug program last fall after it flunked both primary and secondary endpoints. An unexpectedly strong placebo response surged past the drug arm results.

- here's the press release