) recently entered into a global collaboration agreement with the
University of Pennsylvania (Penn) to further their research on
targeted chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) immunotherapies for the
treatment of cancer.
The parties will also set up a new research and development
facility called the Center for Advanced Cellular Therapies (CACT)
at Penn to develop and produce CARs. This will help them to boost
the discovery and development process of additional therapies using
As per the multi-year global collaboration agreement, Novartis
purchased the exclusive rights of CART-19, a novel investigational
CAR therapy, which is being studied in a pilot clinical trial.
We note that results from a clinical study of CART-19 showed
effectiveness in three patients with advanced chronic lymphocytic
leukemia, who previously underwent multiple courses of chemotherapy
and biological therapy. Two of these patients were in complete
remission for more than a year into the trial, whereas the third
patient maintained partial remission for more than seven months.
Novartis, along with Penn, will be initiating a phase II clinical
trial on CART-19 in the fourth quarter this year.
In lieu of the worldwide rights to CART-19 and other CARs
developed under this program, Novartis will make an up-front
payment, finance research and establishment costs of CACT and make
other milestone payments on the achievement of certain clinical,
regulatory and commercial milestones. The company will also be
liable to make royalty payments.
We are encouraged by Novartis' collaboration with Penn in the
areas of cancer research. We believe that Penn's innovative CAR
technology and Novartis' global exposure will together bring a new
era in cancer treatment.
Currently, we have a Neutral recommendation on Novartis. The
company carries a Zacks #3 Rank (Hold rating) in the short run.
NOVARTIS AG-ADR (NVS): Free Stock Analysis
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