Zurich : Swiss-based pharmaceuticals giant Novartis said it was acquiring Selexys Pharmaceuticals Corp, a US research lab in blood and inflammatory disorders, in a deal costing up to $665 million (627 million euros).
Selexys specialises in sickle cell disease, an inherited form of anaemia that is most common among people of African descent.
In a statement, Novartis said it exercised rights to buy the company after seeing results from a large trial into a drug to treat pain for people with the disease.
The drug, called SelG1, aims at easing so-called vaso-occlusive pain crises, which happen when sickle-shaped red blood cells block the flow through blood vessels.
The prototype treatment has just completed the second phase of the three-phase process to test new drugs for safety and effectiveness.
“Sickle cell disease affects millions of people around the world and there are limited therapies available for treatment of vaso-occlusive pain crises, a very common complication of the disease,” Bruno Strigini, head of CEO of Novartis Oncology, said in the statement.