Novartis licenses hep C drug from Debiopharm

Novartis has signed a deal with Switzerland's Debiopharm to develop and market Debio 025 (alisporivir), an antiviral agent for hepatitis C. Debio 025, which is currently in Phase II, is the first in a new class of drugs called cyclophilin inhibitors, which target host proteins that are involved in the growth of the hepatitis C virus. Financial details were not disclosed, but Novartis gets worldwide rights (outside Japan). Debiopharm is getting compensation upfront, along with milestone payments and royalties.

A Phase IIb study of the drug is underway to assess the efficacy and safety of Debio 025 in combination with peginterferon alfa-2a plus ribavirin, the current standard of care. It's being studied in patients who haven't previously received treatment for hep C.

- here's Novartis' release