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Novartis (NVS) to Acquire Neuroscience Company for Up to $770M

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Novartis (NVS - Free Report) entered into an agreement to acquire privately held Cadent Therapeutics, a Massachusetts-based neuroscience company. Upon the closing of the agreement, Cadent will receive a $210-million upfront payment and will be eligible for up to $560 million in milestone payments, for a total potential consideration of $770 million. The transaction is expected to close during the first quarter of 2021.

Shares of the company have decreased 1.6% year to date against the industry’s growth of 5.9%.

The acquisition will give Novartis full rights to Cadent’s neuroscience portfolio, including two clinical-stage molecules for schizophrenia and movement disorders, and MIJ821, which is a clinical-stage molecule previously licensed exclusively by Novartis for addressing treatment-resistant depression.

The first of the three candidates included in the acquisition isCAD-9303, which is in phase I study for the treatment of schizophrenia. The second one, MIJ821, is an experimental therapy for depression and being tested in a phase II study overseen by Novartis. The third program, CAD-1883, is a phase II asset and being explored for movement disorders.

With the acquisition, Novartis wants to make progress in developing potential neuropsychiatric medicinesby bringing potentially transformative therapies to patients who suffer from severe, chronic neuropsychiatric illnesses.

Separately, in another release, Novartis announced that the FDA grantediptacopan (LNP023) Breakthrough Therapy Designation (BTD) in paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (PNH) and Rare Pediatric Disease (RPD) designation in C3 glomerulopathy (C3G). PNH is a rare and life-threatening blood disorder. C3G, an ultra-rare and severe form of primary glomerulonephritis, is characterized by complement dysregulation.

The FDA granted BTD to iptacopan for the treatment of PNH based on positive interim results from two ongoing phase II studies, where iptacopan showed substantial benefits both in patients who remained anemic and dependent on transfusions despite standard of care anti-complement treatment, as well as monotherapy in anti-C5-naive PNH patients.


Zacks Rank & Stocks to Consider

Novartis currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

Some better-ranked stocks in the healthcare sector include Aerpio Pharmaceuticals Ltd. (ARPO - Free Report) , ASLAN Pharmaceuticals Ltd. (ASLN - Free Report) and Alimera Sciences Inc. (ALIM - Free Report) , each carrying a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Aerpio’s loss per share estimates have narrowed from 15 cents to 14 cents for 2020 and from 63 cents to 57 cents for 2021 over the past 60 days.

ASLAN’s loss per share estimates have narrowed from 42 cents to 40 cents for 2020 and from 60 cents to 57 cents for 2021 over the past 60 days.

Alimera’s loss per share estimates have narrowed from $1.31 to 96 cents for 2020 over the past 60 days.

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