RARE Daily

Novartis to Acquire Cadent Therapeutics for Up to $770 Million

December 17, 2020

Rare Daily Staff

Novartis is adding to its neuroscience pipeline by acquiring Cadent Therapeutics, a privately held clinical stage biopharmaceutical company focused on the development of therapies for the treatment of cognitive, mood, and movement disorders, including its program for the treatment of spinocerebellar ataxia.

Under the terms of the acquisition, Novartis will pay Cadent $210 million upfront and potentially up to $560 million in milestone payments.

Cadent Therapeutics launched in 2017 through the merger of Luc Therapeutics and Ataxion Therapeutics, with a focus on small molecules targeting neuronal ion channels.

The deal gives Novartis full rights to Cadent’s neuroscience portfolio, including its NMDAr program, which consists of two clinical programs: CAD-9303, a NMDAr positive allosteric modulator, and MIJ-821, a NMDAr negative allosteric modulator, which was licensed to Novartis in 2015 by Luc Therapeutics. Additionally, Novartis will gain full rights to CAD-1883, a clinical stage SK channel positive allosteric modulator in development for movement disorders, including spinocerebellar ataxia.

Spinocerebellar ataxia (SCA) is a rare genetic, degenerative neurological condition. It is similar to Huntington’s disease in that people with SCA most often carry genetic abnormalities called “poly-Q expansions.” SCA is progressive, and over time, results in ongoing damage to the cerebellum, the part of the brain that regulates motor control and balance.

“Since the company’s launch, the Cadent team has been focused on building a portfolio of next-generation small molecule treatments for cognitive, mood, and movement disorders,” said Jodie Morrison, CEO of Cadent Therapeutics. “The expertise of Novartis in development of CNS therapeutics—something we have witnessed first-hand in our existing collaboration—provides an ideal foundation for continued advancement of the Cadent pipeline and will ensure the broad potential of these drugs is realized for patients.”

The board of directors and stockholders of Cadent have approved the transaction, which is anticipated to close during the first quarter of 2021.

Photo: Jodie Morrison, CEO of Cadent Therapeutics

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