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Published on 25 November 2009

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Novartis gains rights to oral targeted investigational therapies

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Novartis has gained exclusive rights to therapies for patients with a range of life-threatening blood disorders.

Under a licensing agreement with Incyte Corporation, 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.

The lead compound is a Janus kinase (JAK) inhibitor with the investigational name INCB18424.

This oral targeted therapy is in Phase III clinical trials for the treatment of myelofibrosis, a life-threatening neoplastic condition with no effective medical treatment that is characterised by varying degrees of bone marrow failure, splenomegaly (enlarged spleen) and debilitating symptoms.

INCB18424 has the potential of becoming a first-in-class therapeutic agent for the treatment of this and other hematologic diseases.

The second compound covered in the licensing agreement, a mesenchymal-epithelial transition factor kinase (cMET) inhibitor with the investigational name INCB28060, is entering Phase I development.

Compounds in this class are envisioned to become effective cancer therapies through their ability to block molecular signals leading to tumor cell angiogenesis, proliferation, survival, invasion and metastasis.

Multiple cancers have shown to be dependent on activation of molecular signals by genetic alterations of the cMET gene.

Emerging evidence indicates that cMET inhibition may be useful in the treatment of certain cancers, including gastric and kidney cancer, and may help to overcome resistance to some targeted therapies, such as gefitinib in non-small cell lung cancer.

“A key Novartis priority is to bring innovative medicines to patients as quickly as possible,” said David Epstein, President and CEO, 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.”



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