Novartis to buy cancer drug firm Endocyte for $2.1bn

Novartis headquarters

Under the terms of the agreement, Novartis will acquire all outstanding shares of Endocyte common stock for $24 per share, totaling around $2.1 billion. The move, which values the U.S. pharma firm at $2.1 billion, will support Novartis' plans to pursue the development of more new drugs, as it seeks to improve profitability. The transaction was unanimously approved by the board of directors of Endocyte, but it is still subject to Endocyte stockholder and regulatory approvals.

With the purchase, the Swiss company is adding to its arsenal of radiopharmaceuticals, a new group of drugs created to more closely target cancer cells. Until closing, Endocyte will continue to operate as a separate and independent company.

As part of the restructuring, Endocyte said it was ending patient enrollment in a Phase I trial of its folate receptor-targeted tubulysin solid tumor cancer candidate EC1456 (NCT01999738), but continuing enrolling a "small number" of patients in a Phase I ovarian cancer surgical study of EC1456 (NCT03011320). "We are also excited about the opportunity to break into the prostate cancer arena with a near-term product that has the potential to make a meaningful impact for patients in great need of more options".

Separately, Novartis raised the lower end of its forecast for sales growth for the year, saying that annual sales will rise by a mid-single-digit percentage.

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Shares of Endocyte traded up about 50% at $23.37 just after Thursday's opening bell.

If completed, Novartis will gain rights to Endocyte's Lu-PSMA-617, an investigational radioligand therapy (RLT) for the treatment of metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC).

Shares of Novartis were changing hands at $85.88 after climbing 1.91% at 12:05 NY on Thursday.

On Oct. 18, 2018, Novartis announced that it plans acquire Endocyte, a US-based biopharmaceutical company focused on targeted cancer therapeutics.

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