Novartis buys Endocyte for $2.1 billion

Novartis shares rise amid plans for cancer drug specialist purchase

Novartis, whose shares were up 1.7 per cent at 0830 GMT, has agreed to pay $24 per share in cash for Endocyte, more than 15 times its value in September 2017 and a 54 per cent premium to Wednesday's closing price.

Swiss drugmaker Novartis made a big investment in radiopharmaceuticals with the Thursday announcement that it will acquire a USA firm with an oncology drug in late-stage development.

The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, including the approval of Endocyte's stockholders and receipt of regulatory approvals. Endocyte shares were trading at $US23.48 on Thursday morning.

Novartis said in a separate statement that the deal would enable it to investigate potential development of Lu-PSMA-617 for use in earlier lines of prostate cancer therapy.

"We are also excited about the opportunity to break into the prostate cancer arena with a near-term product that has the potential to make a meaningful impact for patients in great need of more options", Barrett added. "The global reach and expertise of Novartis in developing and commercializing RLT therapies will be critical in efforts for patients to benefit from these therapies as quickly as possible".

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Shares of Novartis were changing hands at $85.88 after climbing 1.91% at 12:05 p.m.in NY on Thursday.

Novartis said it expected 2018 net sales at its innovative medicines division to grow at a mid-to-high-single digit rate, its Sandoz generics business to decline at a low-single-digit rate, and its Alcon eye care business to grow at a mid-single-digit pace.

The radioligand therapy, or RLT, uses a ligand, or small molecule that is created to bind to a protein expressed on the surfaces of most prostate cancer cells - but not normal cells - called prostate-specific membrane antigen, according to Endocyte's website.

Its small molecule drug conjugates are actively target receptors that are over-expressed on diseased cells.

On Oct. 18, 2018, Novartis announced that it plans acquire Endocyte, a US-based biopharmaceutical company focused on targeted cancer therapeutics.

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