ZURICH: Novartis will pay $150 million to Ionis Pharmaceuticals to license an RNA-targeting cardiovascular drug as the Swiss company aims to bolster its range of heart disease treatments that now includes the blockbuster Entresto.
Novartis will do a Phase 3 trial of TQJ230, also known as AKCEA-APO(a)-LRx, against an inherited form of cardiovascular disease where people have elevated levels of so-called lipoprotein (a) that cannot effectively be cut via diet and lifestyle changes and plays a role in the narrowing of the arteries, heart attacks, thrombosis and stroke.
Novartis’s cardiovascular disease franchise suffered after patent expirations in 2012 on blockbusters such as Diovan opened the field to cheaper rivals.
With its three-year-old heart-failure drug Entresto topping $1 billion in sales in 2018, the company is hoping TQJ230 will eventually help augment a heart-disease portfolio that is growing again.
Novartis chief drug developer John Tsai said if all went well he would have approvals and be able to start selling TQJ230 by around 2024.