Incyte lands $50M milestone from Novartis

A year after inking a potential $1.1 billion deal, Incyte ($INCY) has earned a $50 million milestone for the initiation of a Phase III trial. Incyte and Novartis ($NVS) are studying INCB18424 for the treatment of polycythemia vera,an abnormal increase in the number of blood cells produced by the bone marrow. The drug, an oral JAK1/JAK2 inhibitor, is also in development for myelofibrosis. Incyte will handle the U.S. trials while Novarts will conduct the study elsewhere. The companies expect to enroll about 300 patients worldwide. The Novartis deal also also covers INCB28060, an oral cMET inhibitor that is about to enter Phase I development as a potential treatment for multiple cancers.

In addition to the Novartis deal, Incyte is also raking payments from a $755 million rheumatoid arthritis drug deal. In late 2009 Eli Lilly purchased access to Incyte's anti-inflammatory therapy INCB28050 and certain follow-on drugs; since then the developer has received two hefty milestone payments.

- check out Incyte's release