Novartis Acquires U.S. Cancer Specialist CoStim

19.02.2014 -

Swiss pharmaceuticals giant Novartis has announced plans to acquire U.S. biotech firm CoStim. The privately owned cancer therapy specialist based at Cambridge, Massachusetts, focuses on harnessing the immune system to eliminate immune-blocking signals from cancer.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

With the acquisition, Novartis said it is adding late discovery stage immunotherapy programs directed to several targets, including PD-1. These medicines, it added, could benefit patients by circumventing cancer's ability to develop resistance against current single drugs.

The Swiss drugmaker already is deeply engaged in cancer immunotherapy, developing investigative chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) technology in collaboration with the University of Pennsylvania.

"Therapy for many types of cancers is expected to increasingly rely upon rational combinations of agents," said Mark Fishman, president of the Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research. "Immunotherapy agents provide additional arrows in our quiver for such combinations. They complement our extensive portfolio of drugs that hit genetically-defined cancer-causing pathways, and also may be relevant to expansion of CAR therapies," he said.