In a bid to strengthen its oncology research portfolio,
) recently announced the acquisition of a privately held
biotechnology company, CoStim Pharmaceuticals Inc.
Based in Cambridge, MA, CoStim Pharma is a biotechnology
company which focuses on developing the immune system to
eliminate immune-blocking signals from cancer.
The financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.
CoStim Pharma's acquisition will strengthen Novartis' position in
cancer immunotherapy discovery programs.
The acquisition will add certain late discovery stage
immunotherapy programs directed to several targets, including
PD-1, to Novartis' pipeline.
We note that Novartis collaborated with the University of
Pennsylvania in Aug 2012 to develop and commercialize targeted
chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) immunotherapies for the treatment
of cancers. The collaboration agreement focuses on accelerating
the discovery and development of additional therapies using CAR
The company established the Novartis Institutes for BioMedical
Research (NIBR) in 2003 to conduct research into disease areas
such as cardiovascular and metabolism disease, neurodegenerative
diseases, oncology, muscle disorders and ophthalmology.
Both NIBR and University of Pennsylvania plan to build the
Center for Advanced Cellular Therapies (CACT) to develop and
manufacture adoptive T cell immunotherapies under the research
collaboration guided by scientists and clinicians from both the
institutes. The construction of the CACT is expected to be
completed in 2015.
We remind investors that Novartis boasts of a strong oncology
portfolio with drugs like Gleevec, Sandostatin SC/Sandostatin
LAR, Afinitor, Exjade, Zometa, Femara, and Jakavi among
Hence, the development of cancer immunotherapy agents will
further complement the extensive portfolio of drugs.
Novartis currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Some
better-ranked stocks include
). All these stocks carry a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).
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