* Sanofi drops Trovax after clinical trial setback
* French group initiates new collaboration in eye drugs
* Payments will secure Oxford BioMedica funding into 2012
* Shares jump 24 percent
(Adds analyst’s comment, latest share price)
LONDON, April 29 (Reuters) - Oxford BioMedica Plc (OXB.L) said French drugmaker Sanofi Aventis (SASY.PA) had handed back rights to Trovax, a therapeutic cancer vaccine, to the biotech company but also started a new alliance in eye medicine.
The changed relationship brings a cash windfall and gives the small British firm sufficient funds to support its operations into 2012, boosting the value of its stock by nearly a quarter.
Oxford BioMedica will receive an immediate payment of $16.5 million relating to the Trovax decision, which follows a major pruning of Sanofi’s drug pipeline, it said on Wednesday. [ID:nLT616178]
Gary Waanders, a biotech analyst at Nomura Code Securities, said the French drugmaker’s decision to return rights to Trovax was no surprise, given the problems seen with the treatment during a Phase III clinical trial last year.
Sanofi plans a new collaboration with Oxford BioMedica to develop gene-based medicines for treatment of ocular diseases.
Oxford BioMedica will get an upfront payment of $26 million and committed funding of up to a further $24 million over three years under this new collaboration.
Shares in Oxford BioMedica were 24 percent higher at 11.5 pence by 0805 GMT. (Reporting by Ben Hirschler; Editing by Greg Mahlich)