Novartis, Ionis Pharma Collaborate on Heart Meds

Jan. 6, 2017

Novartis announced a collaboration with Ionis Pharmaceuticals Inc. and its affiliate Akcea Therapeutics Inc., to license two novel treatments with the potential to significantly reduce cardiovascular risk in patients suffering from high levels of lipoproteins known as Lp(a) and ApoCIII.

The two investigational antisense therapies developed by Ionis--called AKCEA-APO(a)-LRx and AKCEA-APOCIII-LRx--have the potential to lower both lipoproteins up to 90 percent and significantly reduce cardiovascular risk in high-risk patient populations, according to a press release. In addition, Novartis entered into a stock purchase agreement with Ionis.

"Novartis is building a robust cardiovascular portfolio of targeted therapies to address unmet medical need of high-risk patients," said Vasant Narasimhan, Global Head, Drug Development and Chief Medical Officer, Novartis.

Novartis will be able to exercise its options to license and commercialize AKCEA-APO(a)-LRx and AKCEA-APOCIII-LRx following the achievement of specified development milestones and prior to the initiation of Phase 3 studies for each program. Upon in-licensing Novartis will be responsible for worldwide development and commercialization of both assets.