NOVARTIS TO BUY NEUTEC FOR $570 MILLION

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Swiss drugmaker Novartis will acquire NeuTec Pharma, a UK-based pharmaceutical company that specializes in the development of genetically recombinant antibodies, for $570 million in cash, the company reported.

"Our proposed acquisition of NeuTec exemplifies our commitment to innovative medicines for severely ill patients," Novartis Chief Executive and Chairman Daniel Vasella said in a statement.

NeuTec currently has two medicines in clinical development. Mycograb, used with antifungals to treat candida infections, is scheduled for submission to U.S. health authorities in 2009. Aurograb, used with antibacterials to treat staph infections, will be submitted in 2010.

"In clinical trials, Mycograb has been shown to significantly lower the mortality of patients with severe fungal infections," Vasella said. "Both Mycograb and Aurograb promise to dramatically improve the treatment possibilities in this area, and will also enable Novartis to strengthen its biologics pipeline and anti-infective drug portfolio."