DURHAM – Swiss-based Axovant Sciences, a Roivant spinout, licensed a gene-therapy deal with Oxford BioMedica worth $842 million Wednesday likely to boost work in Durham, where it conducts a significant amount of research and development.

Axovant (Nasdaq:AXON) saw its shares soar 44 percent Wednesday after the deal was announced. The company saw it share price plummet from more than $20 each in late 2017 to just over $1 recently after it reported that its neuro-drug for Alzheimer’s posted negative Phase 3 trial results.

Axovant has licensed the exclusive worldwide rights to develop and commercialize the gene-therapy for Parkinson’s Disease, OXB-102, now AXO-Lenti-PD, from Oxford BioMedica.  AXO-Lenti-PD is an investigational gene therapy for Parkinson’s disease that delivers three genes encoding a critical set of enzymes required for dopamine synthesis in the brain.

Axovant expects to initiate a Phase 1/2 dose escalation study of AXO-Lenti-PD in patients with advanced Parkinson’s disease by the end of 2018.

Axovant obtained rights to AXO-Lenti-PD, as well as its predecessor product ProSavin, for an initial payment of $30 million in cash, $5 million of which will be applied as a credit against the process development work and clinical supply that Oxford BioMedica will provide to Axovant.

Oxford BioMedica is also eligible to receive additional development, regulatory, and commercial milestone payments potentially in excess of $812 million, and tiered royalties on net sales of AXO-Lenti-PD, if approved.

Roivant has agreed to purchase $25 million of Axovant common shares, which will support the clinical development of AXO-Lenti-PD and additional business development activities.

Axovant shares opened at $4.96 Friday and fell to $4.54, hovering around a 5 percent loss in mid-morning trading on more than twice its normal volume.