Novartis is boosting its hematology pipeline with a new acquisition.
The pharmaceutical giant announced on Monday it would buy Selexys Pharmaceuticals, an Oklahoma-based biotech specializing drug development for certain hematological and inflammatory disorders, in a deal worth up to $665 million.
The startup initially gave Novartis a buyout option in 2012, which hinged upon results from a Phase 2 clinical trial evaluating a sickle cell disease treatment candidate named SelG1. It belongs to a class of drugs known as anti-P-selectin antibodies.
Investigators running this study wanted to see if this drug could help reduce the rate of sickle-cell related pain crises. These events occur when the sickle-cell shaped red blood cells obstruct the flow of blood through the blood vessels, according to Endpoints News.
The trial enrolled 198 people with sickle cell disease where participants either received one of two doses of the drug or a placebo over the course of one year.
“In the cohort that received the high dose of SelG1, the median annual rate of pain crises clocked in at 1.6. The rate in the placebo arm was 3.0. That 47% difference was enough for the study to meet its primary endpoint,” explained FierceBiotech regarding the outcome of this trial.
More details from this study will be presented at the upcoming American Society of Hematology Annual Meeting beginning on December 4th.
This deal could help Novartis as it seeks to expand its product offerings because treatnents for blood disease could command high prices due to high demand, wrote Reuters.
Treatments for blood disease could command high prices due to high demand, wrote Reuters.
However, some analysts felt the pharmaceutical giant needed to do better at convincing investors it was on the right path towards growth as it struggles with low sales for heart failure drug Entresto and the patent expiration for lucrative cancer drug Gleevec.
“It’s definitely an improvement of the hematology pipeline within the oncology business, but it’s not exactly a bargain and it won’t have any influence on the share price,” explained Zuercher Kantonalbank analyst Michael Nawrath in a note to investors.
Shares of Novartis were down 0.85 percent in mid-day trading.
Filed Under: Drug Discovery