Novartis Acquires Endocyte

December 21, 2018

The $2.1-billion acquisition strengthens Novartis’ position in nuclear medicine and radioligand therapy for treating cancer.

Novartis announced on Dec. 21, 2018 that it has completed the acquisition of Endocyte, a US-based biopharmaceutical company focused on developing radioligand and chimeric antigen receptor T-cell (CAR-T) therapy for cancer treatment.

Under the terms of the agreement, Novartis is set to acquire all outstanding shares of Endocyte common stock for $24 per share. This offer values Endocyte's equity at $2.1 billion, according to Novartis. The transaction will result in a merger of Endocyte and a newly formed Novartis subsidiary.

The Endocyte acquisition, announced in October 2018, strengthens Novartis’ position in nuclear medicine and radioligand therapy (RLT) for treating cancer. The acquisition expands Novartis’ RLT platform with both a potential near-term product launch and early-stage clinical development programs. 

The deal also enables Novartis to use its research and development expertise to investigate the potential development of Lu-PSMA-617, an investigational RLT for the treatment of metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC), for use in earlier lines of prostate cancer therapy. Lu-PSMA-617, currently in Phase II development, targets the prostate-specific membrane antigen present in the majority of patients with mCRPC. 

"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,” said Liz Barrett, CEO, Novartis Oncology, in a company press release. “[The] 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. We are also excited about the opportunity to break into the prostate cancer arena with a near-term product that has the potential to make a meaningful impact for patients in great need of more options."

The Endocyte pipeline includes additional investigational RLTs, including Ac-PSMA-617 in preclinical studies for the treatment of mCRPC. Radiopharmaceuticals such as Lu-PSMA-617 are medicinal formulations containing radioisotopes that are used clinically for both diagnosis and therapy. Through the acquisition of Advanced Accelerator Applications, Novartis acquired Lutathera oxodotreotide for the treatment of somatostatin-receptor positive gastroenteropancreatic neuroendocrine tumors, an orphan disease.

Source: Novartis