COVID VaccinesReturn to WorkMental Health

Novartis Is Paying $2.1 Billion for Endocyte, a Company That’s Developing a New Prostate Cancer Treatment

October 18, 2018, 8:36 AM UTC

The Swiss pharmaceuticals giant Novartis is beefing up its cancer treatment portfolio with the purchase of Endocyte (ECYT), a U.S. firm, for $2.1 billion.

The West Lafayette, Ind.-based company is currently conducting clinical trials for radiopharmaceuticals—essentially, radioactive drugs that help diagnose and target tumors—that could be used to treat men with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer.

For Novartis (NVS), the deal could provide a major upcoming product launch, along with the opportunity to see if the treatment works in other types of prostate cancer therapy. The company bought another company that works in the field, France’s Advanced Accelerator Applications, for $3.9 billion last year.

“Today’s announcement about the proposed acquisition of Endocyte builds on our growing capability in radiopharmaceuticals, which is expected to be an increasingly important treatment option for patients and a key growth driver for our business,” said Novartis Oncology CEO Liz Barrett on Thursday. “We are also excited about the opportunity to break into the prostate cancer arena with a near-term product that has the potential to make a meaningful impact for patients in great need of more options.”

“The global reach and expertise of Novartis in developing and commercializing [radioligand] therapies will be critical in efforts for patients to benefit from these therapies as quickly as possible,” said Endocyte CEO Mike Sherman.

The companies expect the takeover to close in the first half of next year, pending approval by regulators and Endocyte’s shareholders, who would receive $24 per share—which is 54% more than Endocyte’s closing price on Wednesday.