Endocyte Set to Rumble on Sale to Novartis

Novartis headquarters

Novartis AG agreed to buy United States drugmaker Endocyte Inc. for $2.1 billion, snapping up a potential blockbuster therapy for prostate cancer and helping to fill out a treatment area targeted by the Swiss pharmaceutical giant.

Since taking over in February, Narasimhan has shed over-the-counter medicines and generic pills while pushing a spinoff of Novartis's Alcon eyecare unit come 2019. The company previous year agreed to buy Advanced Accelerator Applications SA for about $3.9 billion, getting a radiopharmaceutical company whose drugs are used to diagnose and treat diseases such as cancer.

Endocyte is also developing a preclinical adaptor-controlled CAR-T therapy, which is created to overcome traditional CAR-Ts' reliance on the activity and specificity of T cells engineered to recognize specific, naturally expressed targets.

News of the latest bolt-on deal came as Novartis revealed a 6% rise in third-quarter sales to $12.8bn in constant currencies on the back of gains for new psoriasis drug Cosentyx (secukinumab) and Entresto (sacubitril/valsartan) for heart failure - up 37% to $750m and 113% to $271m, respectively - as well as Sandoz' biosimilar drugs.

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But analysts said investors were keener on Narasimhan's progress in recasting the broad European healthcare giant that former Chairman Daniel Vasella envisioned before his 2013 exit into a focused, data-driven drug maker.

This offer represents a premium of 54% percent to Endocyte's closing price of $15.56 on October 17, 2018.

Narasimhan said that transaction prompted Novartis to expand relationships with USA and European nuclear medicine centers. "With Endocyte, we saw a great fit". S., makes radioactive drugs coupled with molecules that target specific cells to deliver treatments to tumors.

Heading up Endocyte's pipeline is Lu-PSMA-617, a potential first-in-class drug for the treatment of metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC).

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