labels: pharmaceuticals, torrent, novartis
Novartis acquires global rights for Torrent’s AGE compoundnews
Suneeta Kaul
07 November 2002

Ahmedabad: Novartis, the Switzerland-based pharma major, has acquired the global rights for Torrent Pharmaceutical's (TPL) very early stage AGE (advanced glycosylation end products) compound, which is under investigation for potential use in the treatment of heart disease.

The Ahmedabad-based Rs 442-crore TPL is expected to rake in Rs 17 crore from the deal, which envisages an initial Rs 2.44 crore non-refundable payment and a milestone payment of Rs 14.64 crore if Novartis acquires exclusive rights for further development and commercialisation.

TPL share price zoomed 19 per cent to a high of Rs 218.90 as news of the agreement reached the bourses. Says TPL managing director Samir Mehta: ''The deal reinforces the company's confidence in its research team. The association with Novartis will provide us with exposure and experience.''

Incidentally, TPL, part of Rs the 2,500-crore Torrent group, has set aside 6-to-8 per cent of its sales on research and development (R&D). Mehta has already made it clear that the company will increase expenditure on new discoveries by 50 per cent.

Regarding the AGE product, TPL will be responsible for early-stage R&D activities up to predefined endpoints. Novartis has an option to acquire exclusive global rights. In addition to upfront and milestone payments, TPL will also receive royalties on global sales and lead the co-promotion of the compound in India.

Says Novartis CEO Thomas Ebeling: ''AGE is a potentially interesting target for our scientists. Joining forces with TPL underscores our widening search for innovative compounds and partners throughout the world.''

Giving details about the product, Mehta explains that AGE-breakers are so named because they break 'cross-links' between advanced glycosylation end products, which result from chemical interactions between sugars and proteins. Potentially harmful AGE molecules build up gradually in the body during the normal ageing process.

Scientists suspect that cross-links, or chemical chains between AGE molecules, can cause stiffening of blood vessels and other soft tissues in the body. The development of AGE-breaker compounds able to break up these cross-links could reduce age-associated vascular stiffness, providing benefits for patients by reducing hypertension.

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Novartis acquires global rights for Torrent’s AGE compound