Novartis invests in next generation therapies to reduce cardiovascular risk in patients with underlying lipid disorders.
Novartis announced a collaboration and option agreement with Ionis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and its affiliate Akcea Therapeutics, Inc., to license two novel treatments with the potential to significantly reduce cardiovascular risk in patients suffering from high levels of lipoproteins known as Lp(a) and ApoCIII.
The two investigational antisense therapies developed by Ionis-called AKCEA-APO(a)-LRx and AKCEA-APOCIII-LRx-have the potential to lower both lipoproteins up to 90% and significantly reduce cardiovascular risk in high-risk patient populations. In addition Novartis entered into a stock purchase agreement with Ionis.
“Novartis is building a robust cardiovascular portfolio of targeted therapies to address unmet medical need of high-risk patients,” said Vasant Narasimhan, global head, drug development and chief medical officer, Novartis. “Lp(a) and ApoCIII are potent, genetically validated cardiovascular risk reduction targets. The importance of predictive biomarkers in achieving successful cardiovascular outcomes will also be essential in the future payer environment. We look forward to working with Ionis and Akcea to develop both treatments.”
Novartis will be able to exercise its options to license and commercialize AKCEA-APO(a)-LRx and AKCEA-APOCIII-LRx following the achievement of specified development milestones and prior to the initiation of Phase 3 studies for each program. Upon in-licensing Novartis will be responsible for worldwide development and commercialization of both assets.
Ionis’ antisense technology is currently the most effective way to inhibit synthesis of both lipoproteins in the liver, according to data published in the Lancet1. The GalNAc3-conjugated antisense oligonucleotide technology is 30 times more potent than the parent antisense oligonucleotide, leading to a lower dose and the potential for highly effective therapeutic targeting and much improved tolerability.
The deal is subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals.
1 Lancet 2016; 388: 2239-53 Antisense oligonucleotides targeting apolipoprotein(a) in people with raised lipoprotein(a): two randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, dose-ranging trials
Filed Under: Drug Discovery