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Novartis and Incyte in haematology deal

Novartis has signed a deal with Incyte for $210m of upfront payments plus further milestone payments to co-develop two haematology products

Novartis has signed a deal with Incyte Corporation worth around $210m of upfront payments plus further milestone payments to co-develop two haematology products – a Janus kinase (JAK) inhibitor (investigational name INCB18424) and a mesenchymal-epithelial transition factor kinase (cMET) inhibitor (investigational name INCB28060).

Under the terms of the deal, Swiss company Novartis will have responsibility for the future development of Incyte's investigational JAK inhibitor outside the US and for future development of an early-stage cmet inhibitor globally. Incyte will retain exclusive rights for the development and potential commercialisation of INCB18424 in the US.

Novartis will make an upfront payment of $150m to Incyte plus an immediate $60m milestone payment for the initiation of the European phase III trial, COMFORT-II, that began in July of this year. Incyte may also be eligible for additional payments of up to $1.1bn if future contingent development and commercialisation milestones are achieved. Each company will be responsible for costs in their respective territories for the JAK inhibitor, with costs of collaborative studies shared equally.

"A key Novartis priority is to bring innovative medicines to patients as quickly as possible," said David Epstein, president and CEO of Novartis Oncology and Novartis Molecular Diagnostics. "This agreement leverages these two promising investigational drugs with Novartis Oncology's global development and commercialisation expertise and our wide range of multi-targeted approaches to cancer treatment."

INCB18424, is currently in phase III development for myelofibrosis, a serious life-threatening neoplastic condition characterised by varying degrees of bone marrow failure, splenic enlargement and debilitating constitutional symptoms. While INCB28060 is about to enter phase I development as a potential treatment for multiple cancers, including gastric, kidney and lung.

25th November 2009

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