Novartis announced that it has set its sights on MorphoSys with a $2.9bn cash acquisition agreement to bolster its oncology portfolio.

As per the 5 February press release, Novartis will pay approximately $73 per share and will gain cancer therapies pelabresib (CPI-0610) and tulmimetostat (CPI-0209) upon the acquisition’s completion. Tulmimetostat, an enhancer of zeste homolog 1 and 2 (EZH1/EZH2) protein targeting dual inhibitor, is an early-stage therapeutic candidate being evaluated in a Phase I/II study (NCT04104776) for advanced solid tumours and lymphomas.

Pelabresib is 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. The drug is currently being trialled in combination with the Janus kinase (JAK) inhibitor ruxolitinib in the second half of the Phase I/II MANIFEST study (NCT02158858) for myelofibrosis and essential thrombocythaemia, as well as the Phase III MANIFEST-2 study (NCT04603495) for myelofibrosis in patients that have not had previous treatments with JAK inhibitors.

Novartis plans to take the combination treatment to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for approval in H2 2024. GlobalData expects pelabresib to bring in $641m in global sales in 2029.

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

Conversely, 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.

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By GlobalData

The Planegg, 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 FDA granted Tafasitamab an accelerated approval in 2020. 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.

GlobalData is the parent company of Pharmaceutical Technology.