Basel, Switzerland-based multinational pharmaceutical company Novartis International AG has entered into a collaboration and option agreement with Ionis Pharmaceuticals Inc. and its subsidiary Akcea Therapeutics Inc. to license two experimental cardiovascular treatments.
The investigational antisense therapies – called AKCEA-APO(a)-LRx and AKCEA-APOCIII-LRx – from the US-based companies have the potential to significantly reduce cardiovascular risk in patients suffering from high levels of lipoproteins known as Lp(a) and ApoCIII by up to 90%.
In addition, Novartis also entered into a stock purchase agreement with Ionis in line with the company’s strategy to build a robust cardiovascular portfolio of targeted therapies to address unmet medical need of high-risk patients.
Ionis and Akcea are eligible to receive US$225 million in near-term payments, including a US$75 million up-front option payment and a US$100 million equity investment in Ionis, the company said in a statement.
The deal would be valued at “significantly over US$1 billion” through license fees, milestone payments and royalties if both drugs are licensed and successfully commercialized, Ionis said.
Novartis said it can exercise its options to license and commercialize the two products after they hit specified development milestones and before phase 3 trials for each program begin.
Novartis would then be responsible for worldwide development and commercialization of both assets.