Novartis has entered an agreement to acquire Cadent Therapeutics, a Cambridge, Massachusetts-based neuroscience company for up to $770 million.
Novartis will pay $210 million up front and Cadent will be eligible for payments of as much as $560 million upon meeting certain milestones.
The acquisition adds two new clinical stage programs to the Novartis neuroscience portfolio, one for schizophrenia and the other for movement disorders.
The agreement also includes a buyout of milestones and royalties for MIJ821, a clinical stage molecule that Novartis licensed exclusively from Cadent in 2015. Novartis is actively developing MIJ821 for treatment resistant depression.
“The Cadent acquisition follows a longstanding collaboration and shared ambition to bring forward novel neuropsychiatric medicines targeted at the root cause of disease,” said Jay Bradner, President of the Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research (NIBR).
The experimental therapy for depression, MIJ821, is currently being tested in a Phase II trial overseen by Novartis. The compound selectively modulates a subset of NMDA receptors that have been linked to depression biology.
It is being developed as a potential therapy for treatment-resistant depression to help the significant number of patients who do not respond to existing depression therapies.
The third program, CAD-1883, is a Phase II asset and is being explored for movement disorders.
Under the terms of the agreement, Novartis will acquire all of the outstanding capital stock of Cadent, in exchange for an upfront payment and milestone payments. Cadent and Novartis anticipate the transaction will close during the first quarter of 2021.
Closing of the transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, including clearance under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act.