Novartis To In-License COVID-19 Treatment From Molecular Partners, After Encouraging Mid-Stage Data


After getting positive trial data, Novartis AG NVS said it would in-license a new drug developing with Molecular Partners AG MOLN to treat COVID-19.

  • Novartis will pay CHF 150 million to in-license ensovibep from Molecular Partners.
  • The decision comes after the two companies said they had received positive topline data from a phase 2 study for ensovibep (mp0420), an antiviral therapeutic for COVID-19.
  • Related Link: Molecular Partners' Ensovibep Shows Early Safety Profile In COVID-19.
  • The DARPin (Designed Ankyrin Repeat Protein) antiviral therapeutic candidate met the primary endpoint of viral load reduction over eight days in a study in acute COVID-19 ambulatory patients comparing single intravenous doses of ensovibep versus placebo.
  • The companies said the two secondary endpoints showed a clinically meaningful benefit compared with a placebo.
  • Novartis will first seek Emergency Use approval from the FDA.
  • The companies agreed to develop, manufacture, and commercialize DARPin-conjugated radioligand therapies for cancer.
  • Molecular Partners expects approximately CHF 133 million cash and cash equivalents as of December 31, 2021. 
  • Upon receipt of the CHF 150 million option exercise milestone from Novartis, the company now estimates its cash runway to extend well into 2025.
  • Price Action: MOLN shares are up 43.5% at $23.70, NVS stock is up 0.04% at $89.35 during the premarket session on Monday's last check.
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