Opexa Therapeutics has announced a deal that will see Novartis acquire the company’s novel stem cell research technology.

The deal will see Novartis take over full responsibility for funding, research, development and commercialisation for the stem cell technology, which has shown the potential to generate monocyte-derived islet cells from peripheral blood mononuclear cells.

Opexa president and chief executive officer Neil K Warma said that the deal represented a great opportunity for Opexa.

“Novartis is one of the premier pharmaceutical companies and the expertise it brings to this programme will undoubtedly advance the technology significantly,” Warma said.

As per the agreement Opexa will receive an upfront cash payment of $3m, plus an additional $1m as a technology transfer fee to be paid over the course of a six-month period.

Opexa is also eligible to receive royalty payments from the sale of any products resulting from the use of the technology and retains an option on certain manufacturing rights.

Total payments to Opexa, including the upfront payment, the technology transfer fee and development and commercial milestone payments could exceed $50m before royalties.

Opexa Therapeutics is a biotechnology company dedicated to the development of patient-specific cellular therapies for the treatment of autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis and diabetes.