Skip to main content

Novartis agrees cooperation to fight Covid-19

| News

Novartis agrees cooperation to fight Covid-19


A collaboration between Molecular Partners and Novartis has been announced. Molecular Partners will be responsible for the Phase 1 trials for its two therapeutic candidates against coronavirus. If the trials are successful, Novartis will handle the further development, manufacturing and global commercialization.

Novartis has agreed a cooperation with Molecular Partners from Schlieren for the development of its two potential anti-COVID-19 therapeutic candidates. The Basel life sciences corporation has been granted an option to in-license the global rights of Molecular Partners’ two antiviral therapeutic candidates, MP0420 and MP0423. Novartis can exercise the option if the Phase 1 trial being conducted by Molecular Partners from November is successful. The DARPin therapeutics could subsequently receive emergency use approval. Novartis would then be responsible for all further development, manufacturing, distribution and commercialization activities.

According to a Novartis press release, Molecular Partners will receive a cash payment of 60 million Swiss francs under the terms of the agreement. Molecular Partners is eligible to receive a future milestone payment of 150 million francs if Novartis exercises the option to both therapeutic candidates, as well as royalties on sales. However, the biopharma from Schlieren has announced it will forgo royalties in lower income countries.

“Novartis remains unwavering in its support for tackling COVID-19,” said Novartis CEO Vas Narasimhan in the press release. It is clear that this calls for collaborations. This partnership between two Swiss companies could deliver both prophylactic and treatment options. It is therefore “another demonstration of our sustained commitment to addressing one of the greatest health challenges of our times”.

DARPin therapeutics developed by Molecular Partner are a new class of custom-built protein therapeutics based on natural binding proteins. As the press release explains, these have several characteristics that make them “ideally suited for antiviral therapy”: their multi-specific target binding with the potential to prevent viral escape via mutations, the possibility for subcutaneous administration, their long half-life for sustained activity and the potential to bypass cold storage. Unlike conventional monoclonal antibodies, DARPin therapeutics also make “simple, highly scalable bacterial fermentation feasible”. This means that these medicines can be made accessible to patients around the world as quickly as possible. Novartis and Molecular Partners will work together with the Novartis division Sandoz to scale-up manufacturing capacity.

The Swiss government has secured the right to purchase 3.2 million doses of MP0420 if approved for use in Switzerland.

Share this article

Sign up to receive our newsletter in your inbox.

You may also be interested in

biGENIUS receives 2 million euros for new cloud product

Software company biGENIUS, based in the Basel Area, has secured financing of 2 million euros. This funding was granted following...
Read More

Opterion Health secures investment of 6.5 million Swiss francs

Opterion Health has raised a total of 6.5 million Swiss francs as part of a financing round. The company, which...
Read More

TOLREMO receives 39 million US dollars in investments

TOLREMO Therapeutics has concluded a series A funding round with 39 million US dollars. The biotech company based in Basel...
Read More

Mazars opens tenth Swiss office in Basel

Mazars is now also present in Basel with a subsidiary as of September 1. This is the tenth Swiss location...
Read More

Medtech in Switzerland – bringing together traditional skills and hightech industry

How the intersection of traditional and novel skillsets in the Jura area is propelling Switzerland into a new era of...
Read More

Fondation Botnar supporting further research into pediatric health

The Basel-based Botnar Research Centre for Child Health has received a further donation of 50 million Swiss francs from the...
Read More

Do you have a question? We'd like to hear from you.