Novartis signs collaboration deal with tiny Parvus for diabetes nanomedicine

Janice LeCocq, CEO of Parvus, called the pact a "transformative collaboration" for the virtual biotech.

Novartis, which has had a busy week for its CAR-T and NASH programs, today moved onto diabetes after penning a new pact with virtual Canadian biotech Parvus Therapeutics to use its leading tech.

Exact monetary terms weren’t given in the release, but Novartis gets exclusive, worldwide rights to use Parvus’ Navacims nanomedicine tech, specifically for diabetes patients with Type 1 (T1D), and will take on the clinical and sales work for this program.

On its side, privately owned Parvus will be primarily in charge of the ongoing preclinical work for the T1D program and filing an IND with Novartis.

Parvus has received an undisclosed upfront payment and will also gain a research funding boost to help out with its preclinical work. Biobucks have also been lined up, with Novartis in addition taking an equity investment in the biotech.

Navacims are made up of nanoparticles coated with disease-relevant peptide-major histocompatibility complexes. They are designed to change the behavior of disease-causing T lymphocytes.

Parvus says Navacims "are the first biopharmaceuticals to demonstrate in preclinical models the ability to restore immune tolerance in a disease-specific manner through in vivo formation and expansion of regulatory T-cells without causing general immune suppression,” although they will need to go through many more years of clinical trials to assess efficacy and safety in humans.

But for Parvus, this is a major deal at an early stage from one of the biggest biomedical companies in the world, confirming its previously stated desire to team up with a Big Pharma.

“This is a transformative collaboration for Parvus,” said Janice LeCocq, CEO of Parvus. “We are excited by this strong endorsement of the science behind our Navacim platform, as well as the opportunity to collaborate closely with a globally recognized leader in the field of immunology and autoimmune disease.

“This will augment our resources across the Navacim platform and accelerate the development of our T1D program."

The company will also continue work on using Navacims against autoimmune diseases, notably where there is high unmet need for disease-modifying drugs that do not cause systemic immunosuppression.