Voyager Therapeutics Names Alfred Sandrock as CEO, Former Biogen R&D Head

Edward Kim  |

Image: Alfred W. Sandrock, Jr, MD, PhD. Source: Voyager Therapeutics

Voyager Therapeutics ( VYGR) announced it has named Alfred Sandrock, Jr., M.D., Ph.D., as its new CEO.

Sandrock, who joined Voyager's board of directors in February 2022, was formerly the head of research and development and chief medical officer of Biogen ( 

BIIB). He succeeds interim CEO Michael Higgins, who will remain chairman of the board.

“I am excited to welcome Al Sandrock as CEO," said Higgins. "Al is a global thought leader in neuroscience with an impressive track record bringing transformative new medicines to patients.”

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“His success pioneering the development of numerous innovative neurological treatments, and particularly, his skill in advancing promising candidates from early-stage research toward clinical proof of concept, is perfectly suited for Voyager."

Over the course of his Biogen tenure, Dr. Sandrock led the discovery, development and regulatory approval of numerous medicines including: Aduhelm for Alzheimer's, Avonex, Plegridy and Tecfidera for multiple sclerosis, Tysabri for Crohn's and multiple sclerosis and Spinraza for spinal muscular atrophy.

Voyager is developing next generation gene therapies for a spectrum of severe diseases driven by its proprietary TRACER discovery platform and novel adeno-associated virus (AAV) capcid delivery technology.

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Image source: Voyager Therapeutics

Investment thesis

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  • Voyager stock had been in steady decline for over a year until October 2021, when it signed an R&D deal with Pfizer ( PFE) that paid $30 million upfront with the potential for an additional $620 million in milestone payments.

  • Earlier this month on March 8, 2022, Voyager signed another biobucks deal, this time with Novartis ( NVS), in a deal that brought in $54 million upfront with the potential for an additional $1.7 billion in milestone payments.

  • These deals represent strong validation of Voyager's technology platform and approach.

  • While the stock has more than doubled since the announcement of the Novartis deal, we think some of that was driven by short covering. Voyager's short interest had more than doubled from September 2021 to February 2022.

  • We think investors will have an opportunity to leg into the stock on a pullback after this sharp rally.

  • A new CEO, especially after 10 months under an interim leader, and one with Dr. Sandrock's pedigree, could be a sound catalyst for the stock.

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Source: Equities News

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