Novartis pens buyout pact with fellow Swiss native Cellerys, eyeing midstage MS hopeful

Novartis has signed up to a collab pact and possible buyout deal, should all go to plan, for quiet, little-known Swiss biotech Cellerys.

The Zurich-based company is working on new multiple sclerosis drug, CLS12311, which is currently in phase 2. Novartis is pairing up with the biotech on the asset but nabs “the option to acquire Cellerys upon completion of a phase 2 trial in the coming years.”

Neither party gave any details about financials for the deal.

Cellerys, founded back in 2015 as a University of Zurich spinout by MS researchers, has led a very quiet life and was likely not on the M&A bingo card for any Novartis watchers.

Novartis is not, of course, a stranger to MS research itself, having several major new drugs on the market in the form of its leukemia med Kesimpta (ofatumumab)—which is rejigged as an injectable treatment for relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis and nabbed an FDA approval last year—as well as Mayzent (siponimod) for secondary progressive MS with active disease.

It also markets Gilenya, its now aging MS drug, and has over the years signed up to move into areas beyond meds including its Pear Therapeutics pact for an MS app and its Siemens collab to help provide diagnostic tests for its MS drugs.