Skip to main content

Novartis agrees cooperation to fight Covid-19

| News

Novartis agrees cooperation to fight Covid-19

29.10.2020

A collaboration between Molecular Partners and Novartis has been announced. Molecular Partners will be responsible for the Phase 1 trials for its two therapeutic candidates against coronavirus. If the trials are successful, Novartis will handle the further development, manufacturing and global commercialization.

Novartis has agreed a cooperation with Molecular Partners from Schlieren for the development of its two potential anti-COVID-19 therapeutic candidates. The Basel life sciences corporation has been granted an option to in-license the global rights of Molecular Partners’ two antiviral therapeutic candidates, MP0420 and MP0423. Novartis can exercise the option if the Phase 1 trial being conducted by Molecular Partners from November is successful. The DARPin therapeutics could subsequently receive emergency use approval. Novartis would then be responsible for all further development, manufacturing, distribution and commercialization activities.

According to a Novartis press release, Molecular Partners will receive a cash payment of 60 million Swiss francs under the terms of the agreement. Molecular Partners is eligible to receive a future milestone payment of 150 million francs if Novartis exercises the option to both therapeutic candidates, as well as royalties on sales. However, the biopharma from Schlieren has announced it will forgo royalties in lower income countries.

“Novartis remains unwavering in its support for tackling COVID-19,” said Novartis CEO Vas Narasimhan in the press release. It is clear that this calls for collaborations. This partnership between two Swiss companies could deliver both prophylactic and treatment options. It is therefore “another demonstration of our sustained commitment to addressing one of the greatest health challenges of our times”.

DARPin therapeutics developed by Molecular Partner are a new class of custom-built protein therapeutics based on natural binding proteins. As the press release explains, these have several characteristics that make them “ideally suited for antiviral therapy”: their multi-specific target binding with the potential to prevent viral escape via mutations, the possibility for subcutaneous administration, their long half-life for sustained activity and the potential to bypass cold storage. Unlike conventional monoclonal antibodies, DARPin therapeutics also make “simple, highly scalable bacterial fermentation feasible”. This means that these medicines can be made accessible to patients around the world as quickly as possible. Novartis and Molecular Partners will work together with the Novartis division Sandoz to scale-up manufacturing capacity.

The Swiss government has secured the right to purchase 3.2 million doses of MP0420 if approved for use in Switzerland.

Share this article

Sign up to receive our newsletter in your inbox.

You may also be interested in

Nouscom secures 67.5 million euros in financing

Biotech company Nouscom has raised 67.5 million euros in a series C financing round. The Basel-based firm intends to use...
Read More

Celebrating six months of innovation: i4Challenge accelerator New Ideas 2022/2023

On the 5th of July 2023, the 3rd iteration of the i4Challenge accelerator program New Ideas came to its conclusion....
Read More

Paradigm shift in pain management

Pain is a crucial sensation for survival, but it can also drive us to depression and long-term suffering if not...
Read More

BOOM Summit in Basel accelerates health technology

The BOOM Summit at Messe Basel in April 2024 will be a completely new kind of healthcare conference. The first...
Read More

Investors stump up 3.7 million Swiss francs in Onena Medicines

Onena Medicines has secured an investment of 3.7 million Swiss francs. The portfolio company of the biotech startup incubator BaseLaunch...
Read More

CSL joins Basel Area biotech cluster

The research and development department of the globally active Australian biotech company CSL has moved into a new office in...
Read More

Do you have a question? We'd like to hear from you.