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Novartis steps up its pain management drug portfolio

To buy U.S. Australian biotech firm Spinifex Pharmaceuticals

Swiss Drugmaker Novartis has decided to invest in the potential of new medicines, considering the investor confidence across the drug sectors at present. Their commitment is reiterated in its recent acquisition of Australian biotech firm Spinifex Pharmaceuticals, to boost its presence in pain management. Novartis is reported to have made the acquisition at $200 million upfront, and the rest of the amount to be made based on clinical developments and regulatory milestones. The complete deal is expected to be closed by the end of this year.

This investment led by Novartis will give the company rights to acquire Spinifex’s experimental neuropathic pain drug EMA401, which can be consumed to treat post-herpetic neuralgia (PHN), a painful condition some people get after shingles. The clinical trial for the drug use is in the mid-stage Phase II, and will get a further boost by the acquisition.

Importantly, the results published in The Lancet medical journal last year showed no central nervous system side effects or any serious adverse events Novartis also intends to start Phase IIb clinical trials in patients with PHN or another condition called painful diabetic neuropathy, which is caused by diabetes.

“Neuropathic pain is a chronic and debilitating condition with high unmet need. EMA401 could provide a novel, differentiated treatment approach,” said David Epstein, head of Novartis Pharmaceuticals. (as reported by Reuters).

Novartis has made recent advances in offering treatment using new drug applications including the widely anticipated heart failure medicine LCZ696 and a recently launched psoriasis injection called Cosenty

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