Novartis links up with Cerulean in NDC deal
- Massachusetts biotech Cerulean Pharma announced Wednesday that it has entered into a cancer development collaboration with Novartis for up to five targets.
- The deal will combine Cerulean's proprietary Dynamic Tumor Targeting technology with five Novartis compounds to create nanoparticle-drug conjugates (NDCs).
- Cerulean will get $5 million in upfront funding and is eligible for $226.5 million in development and sales milestones for each candidate, according to the company, making the deal worth more than $1 billion should all five products be developed. The biotech is also eligible for royalties.
Like antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs), which link antibodies with drugs to target tumors and have been a major source of interest in the last few years, Cerulean's NDCs pair a nanoparticle with a toxic payload through a chemical linker.
NDCs help drugs bypass healthy cells and instead just target the tumor cells, making them more effective and less toxic to patients. They also allow for better combination therapies, according the biotech.
"This collaboration is further validation of our powerful technology platform, and we are excited that Novartis is including NDCs in its drug discovery and development efforts," said Cerulean CEO Chris Guiffre in a statement. "We are pleased to have the opportunity to contribute to Novartis' pipeline, and we believe that partnering with them will help accelerate our efforts to provide safer and more effective options to cancer patients."
While Novartis has long been a leader in the oncology space, the company has fallen behind in recent years as competitors brought immune-oncology therapies to market. The Swiss pharma is now trying to make up ground and has talked up the potential for combination therapies as a backbone of its strategy.
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