SWITZERLAND – Novatis a pharmaceutical corporation based in Switzerland has revealed that it has its eyes set on acquiring Morphosis in a US$2.9bn cash acquisition agreement that will essentially help to bolster its oncology pipeline. 

According to a press release dated February 5, Novartis explained that it was set to pay approximately US$73 per share for the German biopharmaceutical company founded in 1992. 

With the acquisition, the Swiss pharmaceutical giant will gain cancer therapies pelabresib (CPI-0610) and tulmimetostat (CPI-0209)  

Tulmimetostat, an enhancer of zeste homolog 1 and 2 (EZH1/EZH2) protein, is an early-stage therapeutic candidate being evaluated in a Phase I/II study (NCT04104776) for advanced solid tumours and lymphomas. 

Pelabresib is on the other hand a selective, small molecule bromodomain and extra-terminal domain (BET) inhibitor, designed to downregulate signals involved in myelofibrosis disease pathways and promote anti-tumour activity.  

MorphoSys secured pelabresib, with a US$1.7 billion takeover from U.S. cancer specialist Constellation Pharma, in the hopes of setting a new treatment standard. 

In December, pelabresib met its late-stage primary study goal and all four hallmarks of disease in myelofibrosis, when used in combination with ruxolitinib, a class of drugs called JAK inhibitors. 

The company now intends to file U.S. approval application for the combination treatment in the second half of 2024. 

The agreement comes days after Novartis announced that its net income for the full financial year 2023 (FY 2023) increased by 62% to US$8.6bn.  

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In addition, the company gained FDA approval in January to commercially manufacture its metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC) therapy Pluvicto (lutetium Lu 177 vipivotide tetraxetan) at its new radioligand therapy manufacturing facility in Indianapolis. 

The drug is sold on the market as Monjuvi for relapsed or refractory diffuse large B-cell lymphoma. GlobalData predicts that tafasitamab will net $487m in global sales in 2029. 

Incyte acquires global rights to MorphoSys’ tafasitamab 

Incyte has acquired sole worldwide rights to tafasitamab, a humanised Fc-modified CD19-targeting immunotherapy, through an asset purchase agreement with MorphoSys. 

Until its sale, MorphoSys has actively been offloading its pipeline after MorphoSys CEO Dr Jean-Paul Kress said at the 2023 BIO-Europe conference that “creative financing” methods are needed to advance clinical trials in the existing financial climate and tough investment landscape. 

The Germany-based biopharma sold worldwide rights for its humanised Fc-modified CD19-targeting immunotherapy tafasitamab to Incyte for a one-time payment of $25m on 5 February.  

The deal grants Incyte complete control of the development and commercialisation of tafasitamab worldwide. 

 The arrangement supersedes a previous collaboration between the two companies entered in 2020, which involved shared responsibilities for tafasitamab in the US. 

 Incyte will now independently manage all marketing and clinical development activities and MorphoSys will receive no further milestone payments, profit splits or royalties. 

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