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Less than five months after the departure of its chief executive and chief medical officer amid a strategic shift, Cambridge-based Voyager Therapeutics has announced a licensing partnership with Pfizer.

The deal reinforces the biotech’s decision to dedicate more of its resources to proprietary technology that aims to overcome some challenges associated with developing and delivering gene therapies to patients.

Shares in Voyager closed up about 57 percent on Wednesday at $3.87.

Voyager is focused on finding and engineering adeno-associated virus capsids, which are shells that carry the genetic material used in gene therapies. The goal is to create a long-lasting medicine that could be administered through a single dose. The New York drug giant is interested in licensing the technology for its programs in neurologic and cardiovascular diseases.


As part of the deal, Voyager will receive $30 million upfront and up to $600 million more if the partnership meets certain development, regulatory, and commercial goals. The companies didn’t disclose which diseases Pfizer plans to target.

Before its strategic change, Voyager had inked deals with pharmaceutical companies Sanofi Genzyme, AbbVie, and Neurocrine Biosciences that were potentially worth billions of dollars. But AbbVie opted out of its partnership last year after pouring nearly $135 million into research, and in February Neurocrine terminated the portion of its deal focused on Parkinson’s disease, following safety concerns raised by the Food and Drug Administration during clinical trials. Sanofi also has backed out of deals with Voyager.

Founded in 2014 by Boston venture capital firm Third Rock Ventures, Voyager employs about 180 people in the US, according to its latest annual report.

The Voyager-Pfizer deal is one of several local gene therapy partnerships announced this year, including one between Biogen and Ginkgo Bioworks, and another involving ElevateBio and Boston Children’s Hospital.


Anissa Gardizy can be reached at anissa.gardizy@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @anissagardizy8.