Novartis announced Monday that it has acquired Selexys Pharmaceuticals following results of the Phase II SUSTAIN study evaluating the investigational anti-P-selectin antibody SelG1 for the reduction of vaso-occlusive pain crises in patients with sickle-cell disease. According to Novartis, terms of the deal could total up to $665 million in upfront, acquisition and milestone payments.
Novartis initially gained exclusive rights to acquire Selexys and SelG1 in 2012. The Swiss company noted that results from the SUSTAIN trial will be presented next month at the American Society of Hematology (ASH) annual meeting.
"Sickle cell disease affects millions of people around the world and there are limited therapies available for treatment of vaso-occlusive pain crises, a very common complication of the disease," commented Novartis Oncology CEO Bruno Strigini, adding "with this acquisition, Novartis is able to leverage its leadership in haematology research to advance development of a potential new treatment option for patients living with this debilitating condition."
Commenting on the news, Zuercher Kantonalbank analyst Michael Nawrath said "it's definitely an improvement of the haematology pipeline within [Novartis'] oncology business, but it's not exactly a bargain and it won't have any influence on the share price." The analyst noted that "Novartis' problems, [including] revenue losses from patent-expired Gleevec (imatinib), lacking growth at Alcon and the weak sales begin for Entresto (sacubitril/valsartan), easily overshadow this acquisition."
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