Sarepta Therapeutics has sold the priority review voucher the Food and Drug Administration granted upon last month’s approval of Elevidys, its gene therapy for Duchenne muscular dystropy, the company announced Wednesday.
The $102 million payment from an undisclosed buyer will fund further research and development, the company said in a statement, adding to a cash pile that totaled $872 million at the end of March.
The sale won’t “have a major impact on financials” because of Sarepta’s sizable bankroll, but “bolstering the cash balance ahead of the Elevidys launch is a prudent move,” SVB Securities analyst Joseph Schwartz wrote in a Wednesday note to clients.
Sarepta will likely launch the gene therapy in the fourth quarter of 2023, Schwartz wrote, and he expects revenue of around $110 million before the end of the year. So far in 2023, the Sarepta has posted losses of $517 million on revenues of $254 million, most of which is derived from sales of three other Duchenne medicines.
Priority review vouchers are part of a program designed to encourage research into rare pediatric diseases. The vouchers speed up drug reviews for medicines that wouldn’t otherwise qualify for the designation, shortening the evaluation period from 10 months to six. Companies that win the vouchers can either keep them or sell them to others.
The sale prices of the vouchers have dropped significantly of late as more have become available. In 2015, they were trading hands at about $300 million apiece, but since 2018, their average sale price has settled in at about $100 million, according to a database maintained by Duke University professor David Ridley, an advocate for the voucher program.
The last company to win priority review vouchers was Bluebird Bio, which was awarded two last year upon the approvals of gene therapies Zynteglo and Skysona. They were sold for $102 million in $95 million respectively.
Sarepta has now won four priority review vouchers. The FDA issued the three others after the approvals of its Duchenne drugs Exondys 51, Vyondys 53 and Amondys 45.