Novartis, GSK ink deals with Boston biotech
- Boston Pharmaceuticals said Wednesday it reached separate deals with two pharmaceutical giants, Novartis and GlaxoSmithKline, licensing a total of eight drug candidates.
- Novartis and the Cambridge, Massachusetts-based company will team up to develop and commercialize three anti-infective drugs. The deal will give Boston Pharma worldwide rights to the drugs. Novartis will receive upfront, royalty and milestone payments along with equity in two new subsidiaries to develop and commercialize these candidates, although neither will have new management teams or operations.
- Boston Pharma also reached a licensing deal with GlaxoSmithKline for five candidates with a wide range of indications from irritable bowel syndrome to acne to psoriasis. Financial terms were not disclosed for either deal.
The two new spinoffs will be "asset-centric," according to a Boston Pharma spokesperson, and will allow Novartis to work alongside in accelerating and scaling development.
The new companies "are subsidiaries of Boston Pharma and benefit from its strategic insights, operational infrastructure and best-in-class R&D expertise and network," the spokesperson wrote in an email to BioPharma Dive.
The three anti-infectives at the heart of the Novartis-Boston deal include one undergoing Phase 2 testing for carbapenem-resistant enterobacteriaceae (CRE), a complementary preclinical candidate to that CRE drug, and an oral LpxC inhibitor for pseudomonas infections that is also preclinical.
"The need for new antibiotics that address drug resistant bacteria is clear and we are pleased to find a partner in Boston Pharmaceuticals who will dedicate the appropriate expertise and resources for the further development and commercialization of these programs," Jay Bradner, president of the Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research, said in an Oct. 3 statement.
With its other new big pharma partner, GlaxoSmithKline, Boston Pharma gained full responsibility for developing five drugs in earlier stages through a licensing deal.
Those five include two Phase 2-ready inhibitors for irritable bowel syndrome with diarrhea and acne, respectively; a Phase 1-ready topical formulation for vitiligo and/or psoriasis; and two undisclosed preclinical programs.
"The licensing of these development assets is an important validation of our development team and capabilities and an affirmation of our strategy to assemble a diverse pipeline of clinical candidates across a broad range of indications," Boston Pharma CEO Robert Armstrong said in a statement.
The private, clinical-stage biotech was launched in late 2015 with $600 million in funding from an investment firm run by former Sanofi CEO Chris Viehbacher, who now serves as the company's board chairman.
With these deals, Boston Pharma more than doubled the size of its drug pipeline to 15 candidates, which range from preclinical to Phase 2 testing.