Novartis Sees Promise, to the tune of $10B, in The Medicines Company

Novartis will help push further testing and production of Inclisiran, the first cholesterol-lowering drug created by The Medicines Company, to treat cardiovascular and other related diseases. The treatment hasn’t been approved by the FDA or any other regulatory authority yet, but The Medicines Company is already moving forward to file regulatory submissions for the drug in the U.S. by fourth quarter of this year and in Europe in the first quarter of next year.

Novartis has entered into an agreement to acquire The Medicines Company for $9.7 billion. The acquisition is expected to close during the first quarter of 2020. The Medicines Company will continue to operate independently until this time, including its production of a new cardiovascular treatment. In fact, this drug was a key driver in the acquisition.

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The company is currently in late-stage, Phase 3 studies of the treatment for “familial hypercholesterolemia,” or disease that may be inherited or “run in family,” a defect in the chromosome 19 that prevents the body from adequately getting rid of “bad cholesterol,” or low density lipoprotein (LDL) from the blood. Higher LDL levels make individuals more likely to have a heart attack, a stroke, or heart disease.

Up until now, there has been nothing on the market to treat the condition with the exception of exercise, a diet low in cholesterol and saturated fats, or the cholesterol-lowering “statin” drugs like Lipitor, Mevacor, or Zocor.

“We are excited that millions of patients with atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease and familial hypercholesterolemia will potentially benefit from this transformational therapy,” said Mark Timney, CEO, The Medicines Company, in a company statement.

In recent years, Novartis, a Swiss pharmaceutical company, which recently opened its own gene therapy research facility Switzerland, has already expanded its portfolio of drugs via several acquisitions, including Xiidra, IFM TRe, CellforCure, and Alcon.

This new acquisition could help potentially revolutionize the treatment of cardiovascular disease for millions of people worldwide. “We’re hoping to reimagine treatment of the leading global cause of death,” Vas Narasimhan, the Novartis chief executive, said in a recent New York Times interview. “This could be a strong step forward in Novartis’ transformation into a focused medicines company.”