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Novartis in £68m deal for drug unit


US pharmaceutical giant Novartis has agreed a deal with California-based Nektar Therapeutics to buy its pulmonary drug unit for $115 million (£67.6 million).

Novartis said that the transaction is expected to be completed by the end of 2008, pending regulatory approval.

Nektar uses its own drug-delivery technologies to develop drug products and candidates. Its pulmonary technology makes drugs inhalable so that they can be delivered through the lungs.

Other products the company is working on include an aminoglycoside antibiotic against pneumonia, a PEGylated form of irinotecan against tumours and an oral drug to treat bowel dysfunction.

Novartis said it will use Nektar’s expertise in developing drugs against chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma and cystic fibrosis and other illnesses.

Nektar’s inhalation programmes for insulin and antibiotics vancomycin, ciprofloxacin and amikacin are not included in the acquisition, Novartis said.

Howard Robin, Nektar’s president, said: “This agreement will allow us to focus our efforts on the development of novel therapeutics using our PEGylation and conjugate chemistry-based drug development platforms.”

Nektar said it will also transfer manufacturing and royalty rights to the Tobramycin inhalation powder programme, already partnered with Novartis.

Copyright PA Business 2008


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