Novartis bets $9.7bn on pivot to cardiovascular disease

By Ben Hargreaves

- Last updated on GMT

(Image: Getty/Natee Meepian)
(Image: Getty/Natee Meepian)

Related tags siRNA Novartis The Medicines Company Inclisiran

Novartis announces bolt-on acquisition of Medicines Co., which adds the latter company’s sole drug candidate, inclisiran, to its CVD pipeline.

Rather than pursuing larger acquisitions, Novartis has positioned itself to make strategic bolt-on acquisitions, such as its $8.7bn (€7.9bn) buyout of gene therapy specialist, AveXis​.

The company has repeated this approach with a proposed $9.7bn deal for The Medicines Company.

The difference with the most recent deal is the pipeline – Medicines Co. possesses just inclisiran and has no further products in its portfolio.

However, Novartis is betting that this one product will become “one of the largest products by sales”​ in its portfolio, the company stated​.

The treatment itself is a small interfering (si)RNA treatment that has a twice-yearly dosing schedule. In clinical trials, inclisiran was shown to be able to reduce LDL-C alongside standard of care.

Novartis’ CEO, Vas Narasimhan, explained the strategic rationale behind investing in the therapy: “With tens of millions of patients at higher risk of cardiovascular events from high LDL-C, we believe that inclisiran could contribute significantly to improved patient outcomes and help healthcare systems address the leading global cause of death.”

Narasimhan also noted that the treatment would be a potential growth-driver in the medium- to long-term.

Medicines Co. has already completed three Phase III trials into the treatment for its potential use in cardiovascular disease (CVD) indications, for atherosclerotic CVD and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) in people with heterozygous familial hypercholesterolemia.

With regulatory filings expected to be made in the US in the fourth quarter of 2019 and in Europe during the first quarter of 2020, Novartis expects the acquisition to add to group sales from 2021.

The treatment will be added to the company’s Cardiovascular, Renal & Metabolism portfolio, which includes blockbuster CVD treatment, Entresto (sacubitril, valsartan).

Should the treatment receive approval, it would add to the number of RNA-focused medicines marketing authorization, after Alnylam received the first approval for such a therapy​ in 2018 and followed it up with a further approval last week​.

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