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Novartis strike $40m deal with Chinese firm Cellular Biomedicine

Published on 28/09/18 at 10:57am

Swiss multinational Novartis have paired up with Chinese drugmaker Cellular Biomedicine (CBMG) in order to manufacture CAR-T therapy Kymriah in the People’s Republic of China (PRC).

The move comes as Novartis seeks to win approval for Kymriah and find its way in the most populous country in the world.

Due to Chinese regulations, Novartis must pair up with a Chinese firm in order access the country’s market and win approval for drugs. As such the Basel-based firm has bought 9% of CBMG’s shares for $40 million.

The deal saw CBMG’s shares rise by 16% while shares in Novartis rose 0.9% as trading closed.

“For proprietary reasons, we cannot disclose our strategy in China,” a spokeswoman said in an e-mail to Reuters. “However, our collaboration with CBMG is a step toward our efforts to bring Kymriah to patients in China.”

Nevertheless the move signals Novartis’ push towards expansion of its global manufacturing base for one time cancer treatment Kymriah, which uses a patient’s own immune cells to combat the deadly disease.

The expansion comes after Kymriah was approved by the EMA and Britain’s cost effectiveness board NICE, for use in young people with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL).

Louis Goss

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