Novartis buys cancer specialist Endocyte for $2.1bn

Novartis buys cancer specialist Endocyte for $2.1bn

Novartis buys cancer specialist Endocyte for $2.1bn

Endocyte, a United States cancer-treatment provider, exploded 50% early Thursday after announcing it has reached a deal to be acquired by the Swiss drug maker Novartis.

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 company bought another company that works in the field, France's Advanced Accelerator Applications, for $3.9 billion past year.

The West Lafayette, Ind. -based company is now conducting clinical trials for radiopharmaceuticals-essentially, radioactive drugs that help diagnose and target tumors-that could be used to treat men with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer. Together, these acquisitions demonstrate Novartis' interest in expanding its Radioligand therapy portfolio. Sales rose 3% to $12.78 billion, compared to the average forecast of $12.84 billion in the poll.

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The $24-per-share offer - around $8.50 above Endocyte's closing share price yesterday - has the backing of the biotech's board, but still needs the approval of its shareholders.

Still, some analysts anxious Narasimhan waited too long.

Watch Endocyte and Novartis trade in real time.

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Endocyte will be merged with a newly formed Novartis subsidiary, they said. "With Endocyte, we saw a great fit".

On their part, Endocyte through CEO Mike Sherman had this to say, "We are thrilled that Novartis recognizes the potential for Lu-PSMA-617 to change the treatment landscape for men with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC), as well as the broader role that RLTs may potentially play in the treatment of cancer". The ligand in the drug is chemically attached to a radioactive atom, lutetium-177, which then releases a particle to deliver radiation directly to the cell and kill it.

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