NOVARTIS SIGNS $274 MILLION DEAL WITH CYTOPIA

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Swiss drugmaker Novartis and Cytopia, based in Australia, have signed a license and research deal potentially worth more than $274 million. According to the agreement, the companies will develop orally administered compounds to prevent transplant rejection and to treat autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis. The therapeutic compounds to be developed will target the JAK3 enzyme, which the immune system requires to function normally.

Cytopia, which develops drugs to treat cancer, immune disorders and cardiovascular disease, will receive $13 million over the first three years of the deal in upfront payments and research funding.

"This is the first deal that they've done outside of Europe and the USA," said Kevin Healey, CEO of Cytopia. "Certainly, it's a very substantial value-add for us in terms of not only the short-term payments but the potential long-term payments."