Novartis makes $1.5B play in Parkinson's race

Dec. 2, 2021

Novartis and Brussels-based biopharma UCB have inked an agreement worth up to $1.5 billion to co-develop and commercialize two development stage Parkinson's disease drugs.

The deal involves two development phase drugs, UCB0599 and UCB7853. UCB0599 is a potential first in class, small molecule, alpha-synuclein misfolding inhibitor currently in phase 2 development, and UCB7853 is an anti-alpha-synuclein antibody is under a phase 1 program.

Per the agreement, UCB will receive an upfront payment of $150 million from Novartis. UCB is also eligible to receive further potential payments with a total consideration of nearly $1.5 billion upon receipt of certain regulatory approvals and meeting certain development and sales targets.

The partners will co-develop and co-fund the further global development of UCB0599.  The treatment relies on a key protein involved in Parkinson's disease, alpha-synuclein — a commonly pursued treatment target. Novartis also have the right to "opt-in" to engage in global co-development of UCB7853 upon completion of the phase 1 study currently being run by UCB. 

The deal puts Novartis into the Parkinson's race in a space full of partnerships. Roche and partner Prothena are collaborating on a candidate currently in the end stages of phase 2 trials. AstraZeneca and Takeda Pharmaceutical locked in a partnership in 2017; the project is still in phase 1. And Lundbeck and partner Genmab recently launched their candidate into phase 2 trials, testing it in patients with multiple system atrophy, a neurodegenerative disorder related to Parkinson's disease.