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Exclusive-Novartis in the lead to acquire cancer drug developer MorphoSys-sources

2024.02.05 12:50


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The emblem of Swiss drugmaker Novartis is pictured at the firm’s French headquarters in Rueil-Malmaison close to Paris, France, April 22, 2020. REUTERS/Charles Platiau/File Photo

By David Carnevali

(Reuters) -Drug maker Novartis AG (SIX:) is in superior talks to acquire MorphoSys AG, a developer of cancer therapies that has a market worth of 1.6 billion euros ($1.7 billion), two individuals conversant in the matter stated on Monday.

Novartis has to this point prevailed over rival drug maker Incyte (NASDAQ:) Corp, which additionally made a suggestion for MorphoSys, the sources stated.

The sources added that there isn’t any certainty that the deal negotiations will conclude efficiently and requested anonymity as a result of the matter is confidential. They declined to give any details about the acquisition value.

Novartis, MorphoSys and Incyte didn’t instantly reply to requests for remark.

MorphoSys shares rose greater than 40% on the information on Monday.

Headquartered in Planegg, Germany, MorphoSys develops medication to combat lethal types of cancers reminiscent of myelofibrosis, which is a uncommon kind of bone marrow cancer, and sure forms of knotty lymphomas.

MorphoSys foremost income generator is a lymphoma drug known as Monjuvi, which it sells as a part of a profit-sharing settlement with Incyte. MorphoSys stated final week that Monjuvi’s U.S. web product gross sales had been $92 million in 2023, and that it anticipated these gross sales to come in between $80 million and $95 million in 2024. The firm has stated it expects income to go up as Monjuvi is authorised for extra indications.

One of MorphoSys’ most promising medication, generally known as Pelabresib, is an inhibitor of proteins implicated in the improvement and development of myelofibrosis.

MorphoSys stumbled in November when Pelabresib missed some key objectives in scientific trials, however stated it was nonetheless planning to apply in 2024 for approval to commercialize the drug in the U.S. and Europe.

To slash prices, MorphoSys shut down a few of its early-stage analysis packages at the begin of 2023, shedding about 17% of its workforce. It now employs virtually 550 individuals in its U.S. and German workplaces, in accordance to the firm’s web site.

Novartis has additionally been slicing jobs and prices, and spun off its generic medication enterprise Sandoz (SIX:) final yr, a part of a give attention to fewer therapeutic areas and geographic markets.

Its income progress has been pushed by its coronary heart failure drug Entresto, its drugs Kesimpta for a number of sclerosis, and breast cancer drug Kisqali.

Revenue positive aspects for Pluvicto, a precision radiotherapy in opposition to prostate cancer, eye drug Lucentis and gene remedy Zolgensma in opposition to spinal muscular atrophy fell in need of market expectations in the fourth quarter of 2023.

In an interview with CNBC final month, Novartis CEO Vasant Narasimhan stated the firm’s total mergers and acquisitions technique was targeted on offers involving property valued under $5 billion.

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