Novartis to buy Selexys Pharmaceuticals for up to $665 mn

Swiss drugmaker Novartis today struck a deal to buy US-based Selexys Pharmaceuticals for up to $665 million, in order to expand its portfolio of medicines to combat blood diseases.

Novartis obtained the exclusive right to acquire Selexys and its investigational medicine SelG1 in 2012.

The deal could be worth up to $665 million in upfront, acquisition and milestone payments.

Founded in 2002 and based in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, Selexys is a privately held biopharmaceutical company which develops drugs to treat inflammatory and thrombotic diseases.

Its products include P-selectin, a therapeutic target for antibody-based drugs; and an antibody directed against PSGL-1 proteins. The company's solutions are used to treat vasoocclusion and thrombosis, such as vasoocclusive pain crisis in sickle cell disease and deep venous thrombosis; chronic inflammatory diseases, including crohn's diseases, ulcerative colitis, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, asthma, allergic reactions, cutaneous vasculitis, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Novartis said that it exercised its right to acquire Selexys following receipt of results of the sustain study, a Phase II trial evaluating the use of SelG1, an anti-P-selectin antibody, in the reduction of vaso-occlusive pain crises in patients with sickle cell disease (SCD).

"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 haematology research to advance development of a potential new treatment option for patients living with this debilitating condition."

SCD is a hereditary blood disorder characterized by sickle-shaped red blood cells. It is a life-long disease with many forms that can range in clinical severity from asymptomatic to life-threatening.

Vaso-occlusive crises, or pain crises, are the major reason for health care encounters in SCD and occur episodically when sickle-shaped red blood cells block blood flow through blood vessels.