I have previously written about Oxford Biomedica (LSE:OXB) and its attempt to become a leader in a $14bn industry. Today it announced an update on one of its partnerships with Axovant Gene Therapies — specifically a new treatment for Parkinson’s disease.
As a reminder, Oxford Biomedica is a gene and cell therapy biotechnology company. Using its proprietary LentiVector platform, the firm collaborates with large pharmaceutical companies — such as Bristol Myers Squibb and Novartis. It helps them develop new drugs that would otherwise be too expensive or technically challenging to pursue. The company charges for its bio-processing services during drug development and continues to receive royalties after approval.
Today the company announced a progress update on the development on AXO-Lenti-PD – a gene therapy programme for Parkinson’s disease. This treatment is one of 18 products using the LentiVector Platform and is now transitioning into stage two trials.
A new potential Parkinson’s disease treatment?
The announcement was mixed with both good and bad news.
The good news is that initial testing has shown the drug to be working. Patient-level data in the second cohort demonstrated consistent treatment outcomes providing evidence of dose-response. Patients saw an increase in ‘On’ time and a decrease in ‘Off’ time as compared to their original baseline.
Put simply, the patient’s ability to retain control over their body movements improved significantly, with no adverse side effects of the gene therapy. This brings the whole world one step closer to a new and improved treatment for Parkinson’s disease. However, it is essential to remember that there is a long way to go before it can become an approved medicine.
Furthermore, the bad news portion of the announcement extends this waiting period further.
Due to delays in chemistry, manufacturing & controls (CMC) data and third-party packaging – likely attributable to disruptions caused by Covid-19 – the continued development of this treatment is going to take longer than expected.
As a result, the next planned stage of a randomized sham-controlled trial for AXO-Lenti-PD will not enroll new patients before the end of 2021. Currently, it is unclear how long the delay will be. However, Axovant has stated an update will be issued in Q1 2021 once the development timelines have been clarified.
The bottom line
These delays in manufacturing are naturally going to prolong the development cycle for this particular treatment. However, the cause of these delays are short-term problems and unlikely to become a recurring issue.
There has so far been no impact on other products in development. Therefore, I think investors have no need to worry. However, if future announcements of delays begin to emerge, it may be a sign of an underlying problem in the business that its competitors may take advantage of.
With a promising set of results and only a temporary setback for the company, I still believe Oxford Biomedica is an outstanding growth stock on track to becoming a leader within its industry.
The post Did Oxford Biomedica just find a new treatment for Parkinson’s disease? appeared first on The Motley Fool UK.
Zaven Boyrazian owns shares in Oxford Biomedica. Zaven Boyrazian’s mother works for Bristol Myers Squibb. The Motley Fool UK has no position in any of the shares mentioned. Views expressed on the companies mentioned in this article are those of the writer and therefore may differ from the official recommendations we make in our subscription services such as Share Advisor, Hidden Winners and Pro. Here at The Motley Fool we believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.
Motley Fool UK 2020