No ongoing sale process at Cytokinetics, CEO says following Novartis acquisition rumors

After being the center of speculation for several months, Cytokinetics’ CEO Robert Blum is putting the kibosh on the rumor that Novartis will be acquiring the biotech.

“Since sharing the positive results from SEQUOIA-HCM, Cytokinetics has been rumored to be an acquisition target,” Blum said on a Feb. 27 fourth quarter earnings call, referring to a late-December phase 3 win for the company’s cardiomyopathy treatment aficamten. “While we will not and cannot comment on specific speculations, let me please be clear about one thing—we did not initiate nor do we have a sale process ongoing.”

The cardiomyopathy readout was more than just a clinical win—it established Cytokinetics as a company with a near-approval asset in a blockbuster indication and sent the biotech’s stock skyrocketing.

After the SEQUOIA-HCM results were shared, whispers of a Novartis acquisition grew louder and louder. Then, in mid-January, Reuters and The Wall Street Journal took the air out of those claims, reporting that Novartis had dropped its pursuit of Cytokinetics. 

When asked about the acquisition allegations, a Novartis spokesperson told Fierce Biotech in January: “We don't comment on market rumor or speculation.”

Now, Blum has laid the final nail in the coffin for the possibility of a Novartis buyout. However, the CEO reassured shareholders that the company will consider all options presented, hinting at other deal possibilities on the table.

In preparation for a potential approval and a global commercial launch for aficamten, Blum said the company intends to “monetize our R&D progress and preserve shareholder value via partnering.”

“Our priority remains focused on business development,” the Cytokinetics CEO said, adding that the company is looking to execute a “Japan deal for aficamten.”

“We’re in active discussions with multiple parties and I'm pleased with how that deal campaign is looking,” Blum said.