Novartis inks $890M cancer therapy deal

Earlier this week, Novartis CEO Daniel Vasella indicated Novartis would use some of the cash gained from the recent sales of two major divisions to fill the company's pipeline. Wasting no time, Novartis has inked a massive deal for the worldwide rights to Antisoma's AS1404, a lung cancer therapy currently in mid-stage testing. Novartis will pay up to $890 million for the drug. The company reached this agreement following the presentation in November 2006 of positive Phase II results involving patients with non-small cell lung cancer that showed AS1404 extended median survival by five months. In addition, data from other Phase II trials in ovarian and prostate cancers indicate increased response rates through the addition of AS1404 to standard chemotherapy.

"This agreement further strengthens our broad and deep oncology pipeline by adding a novel mechanism to treat solid tumors," said David Epstein, President and CEO of Novartis Oncology. "As a potentially first-in-class tumor vascular disrupting agent, AS1404 represents an opportunity to provide physicians and patients with an innovative new treatment option."

- see this press release for more