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Pharmaceutical deals | Acquistions | 2024 | iPharmaCenter

Updated: 3 days ago


  1. NovoNordisk Collaboration with Omega Therapeutics and Cellarity

  2. Novartis and Voyager Collaboration to Develop Gene Therapies for Huntington's Disease and SMA

  3. Novartis Plans to Acquire Morphosys


January 04, 2023

Novo Nordisk Forges Innovative Collaborations with Omega Therapeutics and Cellarity for Advanced Cardiometabolic Disease Treatments

Novo Nordisk has initiated research collaborations with Omega Therapeutics and Cellarity to explore innovative treatment strategies for cardiometabolic diseases. The partnership with Omega aims to utilize its proprietary platform for developing an epigenomic controller to enhance metabolic activity, introducing a potential novel approach to managing obesity. Meanwhile, the collaboration with Cellarity focuses on unraveling new biological factors in metabolic dysfunction-associated steatohepatitis (MASH) and using Cellarity's platform to create a small molecule therapy for the disease.

These initiatives mark the initial two research programs under the existing collaboration framework between Novo Nordisk and Flagship Pioneering, utilizing Flagship's bioplatform companies to pioneer inventive treatments for cardiometabolic diseases. Novo Nordisk will cover the research and development costs, with each partnering company and Flagship's Pioneering Medicines eligible for upfront and milestone payments totaling up to 532 million US dollars, along with tiered royalties.

Globally, over 800 million adults grapple with obesity, prompting a need for effective interventions beyond appetite regulation. Omega's distinctive platform, tapping into the body's inherent mechanisms for controlling cellular identity and gene expression, holds promise for creating an epigenomic controller to boost thermogenesis and metabolic activity.

Metabolic dysfunction-associated steatohepatitis (MASH) presents a pressing health challenge, lacking an approved treatment. It is a chronic liver disease linked to an increased risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular issues. Cellarity, with its unique capabilities bridging biology and chemistry through high-dimensional transcriptomic data, is poised to leverage its platform for developing a small molecule therapy against MASH. The collaboration expands on previous work initiated in September 2022 when Novo Nordisk engaged Cellarity to identify novel cellular behaviors associated with MASH disease progression.

In this endeavor to pioneer advanced treatments, Novo Nordisk is forging dynamic partnerships, capitalizing on cutting-edge technologies to address critical health concerns in the realm of cardiometabolic diseases.


Novartis and Voyager Therapeutics entered a collaboration to develop gene therapies for Huntington’s disease and spinal muscular atrophy

Voyager Therapeutics has entered into a strategic collaboration and capsid license agreement with Novartis, to advance gene therapies for Huntington’s disease (HD) and spinal muscular atrophy (SMA). This collaboration aims to explore new approaches for these diseases.

Novartis will be granted a target-exclusive license to access Voyager’s TRACER capsids and other intellectual property for HD and SMA. The companies will work together to progress a preclinical gene therapy candidate for HD. Novartis had previously exercised options to license novel capsids from Voyager’s TRACER capsid discovery platform for two undisclosed neurological disease targets.

As part of the collaboration's financial terms, Novartis will provide an upfront consideration of $100 million, including a $20 million purchase of newly issued equity in Voyager. Voyager stands to receive up to $1.2 billion in milestone payments related to preclinical, development, regulatory, and sales achievements, along with tiered royalties on global net sales of products incorporating Voyager’s TRACER capsids.

Novartis will have exclusive access to Voyager’s TRACER capsids for SMA throughout the agreement, taking responsibility for development and commercialization.

Additionally, Novartis will gain worldwide rights to Voyager’s AAV gene therapy for HD, utilizing Voyager’s TRACER capsids and proprietary payloads. Voyager will oversee preclinical advancement, while Novartis will handle all clinical development and commercialization for the HD program.

Voyager’s TRACER Capsid Discovery Platform is an RNA-based screening platform that facilitates the swift discovery of AAV capsids with robust blood-brain barrier penetration and enhanced central nervous system tropism. TRACER capsids, generated in preclinical studies, have shown widespread gene expression in the CNS compared to conventional AAV capsids. They also exhibit cell- and tissue-specific transduction, reaching challenging areas of the brain while avoiding the liver and dorsal root ganglia.


Novartis Aims to Bolster its Oncology Portfolio with MorphoSys Acquisition

Novartis intends to bolster its oncology portfolio through an agreement to purchase MorphoSys at EUR 68 per share, totalling EUR 2.7 billion in cash. This transaction encompasses pelabresib, a late-stage BET inhibitor targeting myelofibrosis (MF), and tulmimetostat, an early-phase dual inhibitor of EZH2 and EZH1 for solid tumours or lymphomas.

Recently, pelabresib achieved its primary goal of reducing spleen volume and exhibited promising trends in symptom alleviation with a well-tolerated safety profile in the Phase 3 MANIFEST-2 trial. Administered alongside ruxolitinib in JAK inhibitor-naive MF patients, this combination therapy holds potential as a groundbreaking first-line treatment for myelofibrosis, with a planned regulatory submission to the U.S. FDA in the second half of 2024.

This acquisition aligns with Novartis' strategic emphasis on oncology and reinforces its commitment to advancing next-generation cancer therapies. The all-cash offer of EUR 68 per share (or EUR 2.7 billion in total) has received unanimous approval from both Novartis and MorphoSys Boards and is expected to finalize in the first half of 2024, subject to customary closing prerequisites and regulatory clearances, including a minimum acceptance threshold of 65% of outstanding shares tendered in the takeover offer.

Upon completion, Novartis will gain ownership of pelabresib (CPI-0610), a novel therapy with the potential to revolutionize MF treatment when combined with ruxolitinib. Additionally, the acquisition includes tulmimetostat (CPI-0209), an early-phase dual inhibitor of EZH1 and EZH2 proteins under investigation for solid tumors or lymphomas.


February 12, 2024

Gilead to acquire CymaBay Therapeutics; aims to bring new therapy for PBC

Gilead Sciences has broadened its liver treatment offerings through the acquisition of CymaBay Therapeutics, adding Seladelpar to its portfolio. Seladelpar, a PPARδ agonist designed for treating Primary Biliary Cholangitis (PBC), is currently undergoing FDA priority review, with anticipated approval in the third quarter of 2024. Phase 3 data for Seladelpar demonstrates its efficacy as a second-line treatment for PBC, showcasing a best-in-disease profile.

The acquisition, valued at $4.3 billion, solidifies Gilead's commitment to providing innovative therapies to patients. PBC is a rare liver disease, particularly affecting middle-aged women, with symptoms including itching and fatigue. Left untreated, PBC can lead to severe liver complications and increased mortality risk.

Seladelpar functions as an oral, selective agonist of the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor delta (PPARδ), targeting key metabolic and liver disease pathways. The FDA has prioritized its review, with an expected decision by August 14, 2024. Seladelpar has received Breakthrough Therapy Designation and Orphan Drug Designation, highlighting its potential in addressing unmet medical needs.

In the pivotal Phase 3 trial (RESPONSE), Seladelpar demonstrated significant improvement over placebo in key endpoints, including biochemical response and reduction of pruritus, providing hope for patients suffering from moderate to severe symptoms.

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