Deals

Novartis swoops in to bag Selexys and its sickle cell drug in $665M deal

Bruno Strigini, CEO Novartis Oncology

Bruno Strigini, CEO Novartis Oncology

Whatever Oklahoma City-based Selexys Pharmaceuticals just saw in its newly-wrapped Phase II study for sickle cell disease, the data must have been impressive. Pharma giant Novartis has stepped in and closed the loop on its 2012 buyout option, bagging the company in a deal valued at up to $665 million.

The object of Novartis’s desire is SelG1, an anti-P-selectin antibody designed to slash the number of vaso-occlusive pain crises patients with sickle cell disease suffer. Investigators will release the details on the mid-stage data at ASH in early December.

These pain crises occur as the sickle-shaped red blood cells of patients obstruct the flow of blood through blood vessels.

For Novartis, the follow through to buy the company expands its focus on hematology and blood diseases. It also adds to the pharma giant’s late-stage pipeline as Novartis works to convince investors that it has the experimental products needed to boost its revenues. But the single-asset focus and relatively small deal terms won’t change anyone’s mind about its near-term prospects.

The buyout is also good for MPM Capital, which provided a $23 million round to Selexys at the same time the biotech completed its deal with Novartis in 2012.

It’s rare to see any biotech companies in Oklahoma, far from the beat path in biotech research circles. And the players wasted no time in eliminating its online footprint. Clicking on the company web site this morning takes you straight to Novartis.

“Sickle cell disease affects millions of people around the world and there are limited therapies available for treatment of vaso-occlusive pain crises, a very common complication of the disease,” said Bruno Strigini, CEO of Novartis Oncology. “With this acquisition, Novartis is able to leverage its leadership in hematology research to advance development of a potential new treatment option for patients living with this debilitating condition.”


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