Novartis pays $115M for Nektar pulmonary assets

Nektar Therapeutics has sold certain assets from its pulmonary business to Novartis for $115 million, leaving the company free to concentrate on developing new therapeutics. And Novartis says it will use the technology to advance new drugs for COPD, asthma and cystic fibrosis.

In the deal Novartis takes control of dry powder and liquid pulmonary formulation and manufacturing assets, including capital equipment and manufacturing facility capital lease obligations. The pact also transfers about 140 Nektar personnel to Novartis. And Nektar will transfer manufacturing and royalty rights to the Tobramycin inhalation powder program, which is already partnered with Novartis.

Nektar will retain its Bayer HealthCare-partnered program NKTR-061, scheduled to enter Phase III clinical trials by year-end, and royalties to Ciprofloxacin inhaled powder, also partnered with Bayer HealthCare. Likewise, Nektar will retain NKTR-063, scheduled to enter Phase II development in the U.S. early next year.

"This agreement will allow us to focus our efforts on the development of novel therapeutics using our PEGylation and conjugate chemistry-based drug development platforms," said Nektar CEO Howard W. Robin (photo). "The transaction also strengthens our balance sheet and significantly reduces expenses. It is a perfect example of our ability to monetize assets that had little future value for Nektar."

- check out the press release
- read the AP story

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