Sun Pharma acquires Novartis' oncology brand Odomzo

Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd today said it had signed an agreement to acquire a branded oncology product, Odomzo, from Novartis, for an upfront payment of $175 million and additional milestone payments.

The agreement, signed between subsidiaries of both the companies, will close following anti-trust clearance and further closing conditions, Sun Pharma said in a statement.

The transaction gives Sun Pharma its first branded oncology product. Odomzo also extends Sun Pharma's commitment in dermatology.

Odomzo has marketing approval in over 30 countries globally, including the US, Europe and Australia, Sun Pharma said  in its statement

Odomzo (Sonidegib) is a hedgehog pathway inhibitor indicated for the treatment of adult patients with locally advanced basal cell carcinoma (laBCC) that has recurred following surgery or radiation therapy, or those who are not candidates for surgery or radiation therapy.

The product was approved by the US FDA in July 2015. Approximately 70 per cent of the prescribers are dermatologists and rests are oncologists for this class of drug.

According to IMS Health, the hedgehog inhibitor class grew by 40 per cent during the year till October 2016 compared to  the same period in the previous year.

''Odomzo gives us an opportunity to meaningfully expand our already established branded dermatology business and support our expansion into Branded Oncology with a launched brand. We see meaningful global potential for Odomzo by leveraging Sun Pharma's existing dermatology and oncology infrastructure to provide an innovative product to BCC patients worldwide,'' Kirti Ganorkar, global head of business development at Sun Pharma, said.

''We look forward to collaborating with the medical community to bring this novel therapy to the market to patients suffering from locally advanced basal cell carcinoma. Odomzo complements and enhances our existing Dermatology franchise. This acquisition has the potential to leverage and expand the relationships that our Levulan sales team have with the Dermatologists that treat common pre-cancerous skin conditions,'' added Jesper Jensen, head of biologics and dermatology at Sun Pharma.

Non-melanoma skin cancer is the most common form of skin cancer globally. Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC) accounts for approximately 80 per cent of non-melanoma skin cancers, accounting for over 2 million estimated cases in the US alone. BCC consists of abnormal, uncontrolled growths or lesions that arise in the skin's basal cells, which line the outermost layer of the skin. It occurs most frequently on the head and neck, with the nose being the most common site. BCC that spreads from where it started to nearby tissue is called locally advanced and can be highly disfiguring.

Advanced BCC is thought to represent roughly 1-10 per cent of all cases of BCC. Worldwide incidence of BCC is rising by 10 per cent each year due to factors such as an aging population and increased ultraviolet exposure.