Novartis Acquires Calypso Biotech in Strategic Move for Innovative Immunotherapy

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Recently, European immunotherapy biotech company Calypso Biotech revealed its acquisition agreement with Novartis, a leading pharmaceutical giant. The deal involves an upfront payment of $250 million to Calypso’s shareholders, with the potential for an additional $175 million tied to developmental milestones.

The Biotech company, initially a spin-out from Merck, specializes in the research and development of monoclonal antibodies, focusing on IL-15 biology—a crucial immune axis with widespread implications for controlling barrier function and immune cascades in chronic autoimmune diseases.

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The company’s lead product candidate, CALY-002, is positioned as a potential best-in-class therapeutic antibody that targets and neutralizes Interleukin-15 (IL-15). The acquisition provides Novartis with full rights to CALY-002, intending to explore its applications across various autoimmune indications with unmet medical needs.

CALY-002 is currently undergoing a Phase Ib trial for patients with celiac disease and eosinophilic esophagitis. “Novartis is committed to bringing innovative treatment options forward for patients living with immunological diseases,” as highlighted by Richard Siegel, Head of Immunology Research at Novartis.

Calypso’s CEO and Co-founder, Alain Vicari, expressed “We are excited for this transaction with Novartis, a company with relentless commitment to the development of innovative therapies for autoimmune conditions. As part of the Novartis portfolio, CALY-002 is in the best position to be developed effectively, so that it can promptly address unmet medical needs in multiple indications.”

Bernard Coulie, Chairman of Calypso, viewed the acquisition as a pivotal moment in CALY-002’s development. He acknowledged, “Calypso has established a significantly de-risked profile for CALY-002 as a potential best-in-class therapeutic anti-IL-15 antibody.”

Novartis, renowned for its commitment to pioneering treatment options for patients with immunological diseases, sees the addition of Calypso’s potential best-in-class antibody as a valuable asset to its Immunology pipeline. The acquisition allows Novartis to explore CALY-002 across a spectrum of autoimmune indications, aligning with its mission to address unmet medical needs in the field.

The strategic move not only positions Novartis at the forefront of innovative immunotherapy but also underscores the industry’s recognition of the potential within the B2B biotech sector. The acquisition exemplifies a strategic alignment between a pharmaceutical giant and a specialized biotech firm, marking a significant step in advancing therapeutic options for patients grappling with autoimmune conditions.

As the integration unfolds, the collaboration between the two, promises to usher in a new era of immunotherapy advancements, providing hope for patients facing autoimmune challenges and reinforcing Novartis’s commitment to shaping the future of healthcare.

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