Novartis bets a billion

In a deal that could hit just shy of $1 billion, Antisoma plc

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LONDON, U.K.—In a deal that could hit just shy of $1 billion, Antisoma plc announced it has signed an exclusive global licensing agreement with Novartis for AS1404, a vascular disrupting agent that is currently undergoing clinical testing. Aside from immediate and near-term payments, Novartis will also fund and conduct all future development, as well as paying Antisoma various milestone and royalty payments.
"This deal provides both extra resources and new strategic options for Antisoma," says Glyn Edwards, Antisoma CEO. "We plan to use it as a springboard to further expand our pipeline and to exploit the value in our present portfolio. We now have an excellent opportunity to gain direct involvement in selling our own products."
The move will help Novartis expand its oncology pipeline, further entrenching the company in a competitive cancer therapeutics market that is expected to top $89 billion by 2011, according to a recent report by Kalorama Information.

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