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Novartis Buys Selexys on Favorable Phase II Data on SelG1

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Swiss drug maker Novartis AG (NVS - Free Report) announced that it has acquired Selexys Pharmaceuticals Corporation, a privately held company specializing in the development of therapeutics for certain hematologic and inflammatory disorders, following the receipt of results from the phase II SUSTAIN study on SelG1 for the treatment of patients with sickle cell disease (SCD).

The study evaluated the use of SelG1, an anti-P-selectin antibody, in the reduction of vaso-occlusive pain crises in SCD patients. Results were presented at the plenary scientific session of the American Society of Hematology.

As per the terms of the agreement, the value of the transaction could reach $665 million, including upfront, acquisition and milestone payments.

We remind investors that Novartis had obtained the exclusive right to acquire Selexys and SelG1 in 2012.

The acquisition of Selexys represents an important step toward the continued development of SelG1, which will complement and expand Novartis’ hematology pipeline.

Considering the lack of FDA-approved drugs for SCD, there exists significant unmet for new treatment options.

Meanwhile, among other companies, GlycoMimetics, Inc. (GLYC - Free Report) is evaluating its pan-selectin antagonist, rivipansel, in a phase III study for the treatment of vaso-occlusive crisis in SCD, in collaboration with Pfizer Inc. (PFE - Free Report) . Rivipansel enjoys a Fast Track in the U.S., and orphan drug status in both the U.S. and the EU.

Zacks Rank & Key Picks

Novartis currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Vanda Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (VNDA - Free Report) is a better-ranked stock in the health care sector, with a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Vanda’s loss estimates narrowed from 68 cents to 56 cents for 2016 over the last 60 days, while its earnings estimates increased from 16 cents to 17 cents for 2017. The company posted a positive earnings surprise in three of the last four quarters with an average beat of 56.65%.

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