Swiss drugmaker Novartis has agreed to acquire US-based biopharmaceutical firm, Endocyte, in a deal valued at around $2.1bn.
As per terms of the deal, Novartis will purchase all outstanding shares of Endocyte common stock by paying $24 per share.
Through using drug conjugation technology, Endocyte will develop targeted therapies with companion imaging agents, including Lu-PSMA-617.
The Lu-PSMA-617 is a first-in-class investigational radioligand therapy (RLT) to treat metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC). It is said to target the prostate-specific membrane antigen (PSMA) that is mostly found in majority of patients with mCRPC.
At present, the Lu-PSMA-617 is being studied in the phase III global Vision clinical trial in men with mCRPC, a disease with limited treatment options.
Once the deal concludes, the acquired business will expand the Novartis RLT platform with both a potential near-term product launch and early-stage clinical development programs.
The study is a global, prospective, open-label, multi-center and randomized phase III trial of Lu-PSMA-617 in combination with best supportive care versus best supportive care alone.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) agreed to radiographic progression-free survival (rPFS) as an alternative primary endpoint to OS in the trial in September, said the company.
Endocyte pipeline is comprised of additional investigational RLTs, including Ac-PSMA-617 in preclinical studies to treat mCRPC.
Radiopharmaceuticals are advanced medicinal formulations, which include radioisotopes used clinically for both diagnosis and therapy.
Via acquisition of advanced accelerator applications (AAA), Novartis purchased Lutathera (lutetium Lu 177 dotatate / INN: lutetium (177Lu) oxodotreotide), which is an approved peptide receptor radionuclide therapy to treat somatostatin-receptor positive gastroenteropancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (GEP-NETs).
The deal is subject to customary closing conditions, including the approval of Endocyte’s stockholders and receipt of regulatory approvals.
Novartis Oncology CEO Liz Barrett said: “Novartis has a strong legacy of addressing unmet needs with transformative therapies and is building a leadership capability in new, technology-driven platforms that address some of the world’s most complex health challenges, including cancer.
“Today’s announcement about the proposed acquisition of Endocyte builds on our growing capability in radiopharmaceuticals, which is expected to be an increasingly important treatment option for patients and a key growth driver for our business.”