Novartis acquires DTx Pharma

Deal includes DTx-1252, a potential therapy for the neuromuscular disorder Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease type 1A (CMT1A), and two additional preclinical programs for other neuroscience indications

Novartis has announced that it has acquired DTx Pharma, a San-Diego based, preclinical stage biotechnology company focused on leveraging its proprietary FALCON platform to develop siRNA therapies for neuroscience indications.

DTx’s lead program, DTx-1252 targets the root cause of CMT1A—the overexpression of PMP22, a protein that causes the myelin sheath that supports and insulates nerves in the peripheral nervous system to function abnormally. DTx-1252, which was recently granted Orphan Drug Designation by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), decreases the expression of this protein in Schwann cells, the target cell type for the development, maintenance, and function of peripheral nerves. The FALCON platform facilitates this targeted approach by conjugating siRNAs to naturally occurring fatty acids to improve the biodistribution and cellular uptake to tissues and cell types of interest.

Fiona Marshall, President of the Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research (NIBR) said, “We look forward to continuing the development of DTx’s therapeutic programs and bringing new hope to patients with neuromuscular and other neurological disorders for which there have historically been few treatment options. We are also excited to bring DTx’s FALCON technology to Novartis and explore its potential to deliver drugs to extrahepatic tissues.”

In addition to DTx-1252, the deal also brings two additional preclinical programs for other neuroscience indications to Novartis and expands the Novartis siRNA toolkit, building on its capabilities in xRNA, one of the Novartis technology platforms.

Robert Baloh, Global Head of Neuroscience for NIBR said, “The growing arsenal of therapeutic platforms available to us continues to enable the development of novel, high-value medicines—particularly in cases where the underlying biology of disease is well defined. We look forward to continuing the development of DTx’s potential first-in-class medicine for CMT1A and are hopeful we can bring a therapeutic option to patients living with this debilitating neuromuscular condition.”

Under the terms of the agreement, Novartis will make an upfront payment of USD 500m and additional payments upon completion of pre-specified milestones.

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