Zurich – Novartis (VTX: NOVN) made licensing agreements with small drug developers to expand their immuno-oncology line of research, aiming to develop cancer immunotherapy medicines.

By acquiring Admune Therapeutics, and the agreements with Xoma and Palobiofarma, the company expects to develop a treatment that could generate billions of dollars in annual sales, as they compete with Roche, the largest cancer-drug maker.

Immune therapies work by reinforcing the immune system, making it more effective and stronger in the fight against tumours. Image: Reuters

“The first wave of immuno-oncology therapies has demonstrated the impact this approach can have in treating certain types of tumors,” said Mark Fishman, president of the Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research, according to Reuters.

The agreement with Palobiofarma, the spanish company, will give Novartis the exclusive rights to develop, manufacture and distribute the adenosine-based cancer therapy.

On the other hand, the molecule acquired from Palobiofarma could be used in therapies along with other drugs, as it is designed to help the immune system to fight tumours that evade its defenses.

A big pharmaceutical fish

Novartis is a global company, settled in Switzerland. They focus in three divisions: pharmaceuticals, eye care and generics, according to their website. Also, they encourage investigators to develop innovative healthcare products, as they expand their presence in the world, reaching places like Asia, Africa, and Latin America.

The portfolio from Novartis presents more than 50 marketed products. According to their statistics from 2013, the company had an annual revenue of $57.9 billion, and a net income of $12.533 billion, numbers that are expected to rise if they succeed with these cancer therapies.

Source: Reuters