Nov 26 Pharma News

Novartis buys Medicines Co. for USD 9.7 Billion; Alexion’s SOLIRIS receives approval in Japan for NMOSD; Ferring and Blackstone teams up to advance Bladder cancer gene therapy


Novartis plans to buy The Medicines Company for USD 9.7 Billion to gain access to a heart drug inclisiran, almost ready to get into the market.

Under the terms of the deal, Novartis will pay USD 85 per share to the Medicines Company, a cholesterol drug developer, making the deal up to USD 9.7 Billion. The whole transaction will be completed by 2020.

Around 95 million US adults age 20 or older have total cholesterol levels higher than the normal levels i.e., 200mg/dL.

Inclisiran is a small interfering RNA therapy. The use of inclisiran for lowering down the blood cholesterol levels has still not been approved by any regulatory body. However, the results of the clinical study promise good results. The study Orion constitutes Phases III trials designed to evaluate the efficacy of the drug. The therapy lowers down the lower low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol – also known as LDL-C or bad cholesterol.

Blackstone Life Sciences and Ferring Pharmaceuticals have collaborated to jointly develop Ferring’s late-stage bladder cancer therapy candidate investing USD 570 Mn.

Under the terms of the agreement, Blackstone has agreed to invest an amount of USD 400 Million while Ferring will invest up to USD 170 Million.

The joint agreement will help the manufacturing and commercialization of the drug, nadogaragene firadenovec and help secure the global rights. Upon the approval, FerGene, a new subsidiary of Ferring will have the sole market authorization.

The gene therapy is indicated for high-grade, Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) unresponsive, non-muscle invasive bladder cancer (NMIBC). Currently, the drug is in Phase III clinical trials.

The main treatments for when the cancer cells are found only in the bladder’s inner lining (non-muscle- invasive bladder cancer) are surgery, immunotherapy, and intravesical chemotherapy. Surgery—on its own or combined with other treatments—is used in most cases.

Other pharma players like Sesen Bio, Altor BioScience, TARIS Biomedical, and many more are advancing the Non-Muscle Invasive Bladder Cancer (NMIBC) treatment market.

Alexion Pharmaceuticals has recently received a nod from Japan’s Health, Labour and Welfare Ministry (MHLW) for its drug Soliris (eculizumab).

The drug has received the recommendation for the expanded use to prevent relapse in anti-aquaporin-4 (AQP4) antibody-positive neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder (NMOSD), including neuromyelitis optica.

The drug is the first drug to receive approval in Japan. The trials PREVENT revealed promising results of the drug to prolong time to the first relapse and reduce relapse risk. However, the drug is already approved to treat paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (PNH) in adults and atypical hemolytic uremic syndrome (aHUS) in children.

At present, there exists no cure for Neuromyelitis Optica (NMO) and the existing treatment regimen revolves around relieving symptoms and prevention of frequent recurrences.

Key players, such as Alexion Pharma, Chugai Pharmaceutical/ Roche, and Viela Bio are involved in developing therapies for NMOSD. The launch of emerging therapy, such as Soliris (Alexion Pharma), Satralizumab (SA237) (Chugai Pharmaceutical/ Roche) and MEDI-551 (Viela Bio) will significantly impact the NMOSD market during the study period (2016-2027).

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