Novartis, Artios cancer discovery deal worth up to $1.3bn

By Jenni Spinner

- Last updated on GMT

(anusorn nakdee/iStock via Getty Images Plus)
(anusorn nakdee/iStock via Getty Images Plus)

Related tags Novartis Artios Pharma Cancer preclinical development

The collaboration centers on development of precision cancer treatments, through discovery and validation of next-generation DNA damage response targets.

Artios Pharma, a DNA damage response (DDR) specialist firm that exploits synthetic lethality to develop precision medicines for the potential treatment of various cancers, has announced a global research collaboration with pharmaceutical giant Novartis.

According to the companies, the firms will work together to discover and validate next-generation DDR targets, with the intention of enhancing Novartis’s radioligand therapies (RLT).

Both companies will work on target discovery and validation as part of the collaboration. Novartis will select up to three exclusive DDR targets, then receive worldwide rights on the targets; Novartis then will utilize the targets with its RLT’s.

Artios Pharma CEO Niall Martin said the collaboration with Novartis will broaden the reach of the company’s discovery platform, leverage its DDR expertise, and target knowledge to increase the potential of RLTs.

Niall Martin, CEO, Artios Pharma

From a strategic perspective, this collaboration is an ideal fit which maximizes the application of our platform to areas beyond our current focus as we independently advance our pipeline of novel DDR candidates​,” Martin commented. “We look forward to continued momentum as a clinical-stage precision medicine company, building upon our recently initiated Phase 1 study of ART0380, our potential best-in-class ATR inhibitor, with the expected entry of our first-in-class Pol Theta program into the clinic before year end​.”

Under the agreement’s terms, Novartis will issue an up-front payment of $20m USD; they also will provide near-term research funding in order to support the collaboration. Artios will be eligible to receive discovery, development, regulatory and sales-based milestones, in addition to royalty payments on net sales of products commercialized by Novartis, up to $1.3b USD.

Novartis’s RLT delivers targeted radiation to a specific subset of cancer cells, reportedly with minimal effect on surrounding healthy cells. RLT has been shown to improve overall survival and quality of life, specifically in the setting of cancers with bone metastases. 

The partnership is among a number of collaborations involving Novartis announced in recent months. In November 2020, for example, the pharmaceutical firm stated plans to work with information analytics firm Elsevier​ to develop novel safety margin risk assessment prediction technology.

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