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Novartis, Biogen walk on Sangamo partnerships

Novartis and Biogen both walked away from separate neurodegenerative deals with Sangamo Therapeutics, leaving the California-based genomic medicine company scrambling to assess its options.

Novartis was the first to go. Early last week, the Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research notified Sangamo that, effective June 11, 2023, it was terminating a deal inked back in July 2020. Novartis indicated to Sangamo that the termination relates to a recent strategic review. 

The deal had focused on leveraging Sangamo’s propriety genome regulation technology, zinc finger protein transcription factors, against three neurodevelopmental targets, including autism spectrum disorder and other neurodevelopmental disorders. Novartis paid Sangamo a $75 million upfront license fee and Sangamo was eligible to earn from Novartis up to $720 million in milestone payments.

Before Sangamo could regroup from the bad news, Biogen added some more, notifying the company on Friday that effective June 15, 2023, it would be terminating its February 2020 agreement. Like Novartis, Biogen also told Sangamo the termination relates to a recent strategic review. 

The Biogen deal involved an upfront payment of $350 million with Sangamo eligible to receive up to $2.37 billion in potential milestones related to the development of gene regulation therapies for Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, neuromuscular and other neurological diseases.

Now, Sangamo says it will investigate alternative options to advance the neurological disease programs that were subject to both deals, including potential development internally or with a collaboration partner.