Novartis to acquire Chinook Therapeutics

Novartis has entered into an agreement to acquire Chinook Therapeutics, a Seattle-based clinical stage biopharmaceutical company with two high-value, late-stage medicines in development for rare, severe chronic kidney diseases.

The agreed $3.5bn deal, which is subject to customary closing conditions, is fully in line with Novartis strategy to focus on innovative medicines and will significantly expand its renal portfolio, complementing the existing pipeline.

“IgA Nephropathy is a devastating disease mostly affecting young adults and potentially leading to dialysis or kidney transplantation. We are excited by this unique opportunity to address one of society’s most challenging healthcare issues, with the potential to bring additional much-needed treatment options to patients,” said Vas Narasimhan, M.D., CEO of Novartis. “We look forward to closing the deal, to a smooth transition for Chinook employees and to welcoming them to Novartis.”

Chinook’s pipeline includes two late-stage assets in clinical development to treat Immunoglobulin A Nephropathy (IgAN), a progressive, rare kidney disease that mostly affects young adults and currently lacks targeted treatment options. As many as 3 in 10 patients progress to kidney failure and dialysis within 10 years.

Atrasentan, an oral endothelin A receptor antagonist (ERA), currently in Phase 3 development for IgAN with pivotal readout expected in Q4 2023, has shown significant reductions in proteinuria. Atrasentan is also in early-stage development for other rare kidney diseases.

Zigakibart (BION-1301) is a subcutaneously administered anti-APRIL monoclonal antibody; a Phase 3 trial in IgAN is expected to start in Q3 2023.

Chinook has deep expertise in modeling and understanding kidney disease and a promising early pipeline to address a number of severe renal conditions.

Under the agreed deal, which has been unanimously approved by the Boards of both companies, Novartis will acquire Chinook for a total value of up to $3.5bn with the transaction being in the form of a merger of Chinook and a newly formed Novartis subsidiary.

Pursuant to the terms of the merger agreement, holders of Chinook common stock would receive $3.2bn ($40.00 per share) in cash upon closing, plus a contingent value right with a value of up to $0.3bn ($4.00 per share), payable in cash upon the achievement of certain regulatory milestones.

The transaction is expected to close in the second half of 2023, subject to customary closing conditions, including approval of Chinook’s stockholders and receipt of regulatory approvals. Until the deal closes, Chinook will continue to operate as a separate and independent company.

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