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Novartis acquires Ziarco adding to dermatology pipeline

Published on 19/12/16 at 10:08am

Novartis has announced that it will acquire UK-based Ziarco, to add Ziarco's lead investigational oral treatment for moderate-to-severe eczema to its own pipeline. The financials of the deal were not released but it is thought to be in the region of $1 billion, with a fair proportion of this figure locked into milestone payments.

Novartis will be hoping to have a similar success to story as Pfizer, who recently announced that its own eczema treatment had been given FDA approval, and the fact that the treatment could become the first oral treatment for eczema is a key selling point.

The treatment, ZPL389, has shown Phase 2 trials that it can boast a statically significant reduction of eczema in patients. After eight weeks of treatment with the drug, it was found to reduce the Eczema Area and Severity Index (EASI) by 50%, compared with the placebo effect of 27%, in a study contained 98 patients. The study also found that there was a decrease in itching in patients which led to a reduction in a sleep loss, one of the major side-effects of eczema. The study found that the safety profile of the drug was favourable.

"There is an unmet need for innovative, effective and safe oral treatment options for people living with eczema," said Vasant Narasimhan, global head of drug development and chief medical officer at Novartis. "We are proud of our dermatology capabilities shown by the recent successful launches of Cosentyx and Xolair. Now we're excited about a potential new medicine for people with eczema through the acquisition of Ziarco and the addition of a first-in-class oral H4 receptor antagonist to our growing pipeline."

Ben Hargreaves

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