The U.S.-listed shares of Cellectis S.A. CLLS rocketed 179.3% on very heavy volume in premarket trading Wednesday, after the France-based biotechnology company announced an equity investment of $220 million from AstraZeneca PLC AZN as part of a collaboration agreement that leverages Cellectis’ gene editing technologies. Trading volume ballooned to 10.8 million shares, compared with the full-day average of about 68,000 shares. The stock was the biggest gainer and most active on major U.S. exchanges ahead of the open. As part of the agreement, Cellectis will receive an initial equity investment of $80 million and a memorandum of understanding was reached relating to an additional equity investment of $140 million. In addition, Cellectis will receive an upfront payment of $25 million and will be eligible to receive an investigational new drug (IND) option fee and sales-relate milestone payments of $70 million to up to $220 million. Cellectis’ stock, which had closed Tuesday at a record low of 97 cents, has tumbled 51.7% over the past three months through Tuesday, while the iShares Biotechnology ETF IBB has dropped 11.2% and the S&P 500 SPX has shed 8.4%.
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