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Novartis to pay up to US$1b for rights to skin drug
NOVARTIS agreed to buy the rights to a skin-disease drug from developers Galapagos and MorphoSys in a deal that could reach US$1 billion.
Chief executive officer Vas Narasimhan is focusing the Swiss drugmaker on developing innovative prescription medicines.
Novartis will pay 95 million euros (S$151 million) upfront and later payments of up to 850 million euros based on the drug reaching certain regulatory, commercial and sales goals, MorphoSys said in a statement on Thursday.
The payments will be split 50-50 between Mechelen, Belgium-based Galapagos and Planegg, Germany-based MorphoSys.
Mr Narasimhan needs new medicines to counter the impact of cheaper copycats on older products.
The experimental drug known as MOR106 will join a portfolio for skin ailments that includes Cosentyx for psoriasis - on its way to becoming a blockbuster - and Xolair, an asthma drug also prescribed for chronic hives, bolstering Novartis' dermatology business.
Atopic dermatitis, which MOR106 targets, is a common form of eczema that doesn't have many treatments.
MorphoSys raised its 2018 forecasts, with a new sales range that's about triple the old one and a smaller operating loss.
Novartis also agreed to pay royalties to Galapagos and MorphoSys in a range of up to low teens and low 20s as a percentage of sales. BLOOMBERG