Novartis shares rise as it enters liver disease drug development deal with Pfizer

Novartis shares are higher as the Swiss pharma group enters an agreement with Pfizer to collaborate on the development of a drug to treat NASH liver disease.

Novartis shares rise as it enters liver disease drug development deal with Pfizer

Novartis shares are higher Monday, as the Swiss pharma firm said it is working with Pfizer to develop a drug for a severe type of liver disease. The move comes as both pharma firms have already begun the development of their own, separate drugs to fight the illness, which is linked to obesity and diabetes.

By 1445 BST, Novartis shares were 2.40% higher at CHF86.92. The stock has been mixed in recent weeks, but is higher on a year-to-date basis. Pfizer shares are currently 2.01% in the green at $43.46.

Novartis, Pfizer agreement

Novartis said Monday that it is working with US pharma giant Pfizer, to develop a drug to help fight a complex type of liver disease. The agreement is to work towards creating a drug based on a combination of Novartis’ tropifexor, with a number of Pfizer’s existing compounds designed to fight the illness, NASH.

Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, or NASH, is a type of liver disease that affects some 12% of US adults, but for which there is currently no targeted treatment, other than a liver transplant.

“Liver diseases, including NASH, are multifaceted with various factors that contribute to the progression of the disease. This makes them difficult to treat with a single compound,” said Eric Hughes, Global Development Unit Head, Immunology, Hepatology and Dermatology.

“We want to collaborate with multiple partners to drive the science and understanding of how to treat non-viral liver diseases. Targeting different pathways in NASH with a broad array of therapies is an essential strategy to bring the best treatments to patients,” Hughes added.

No financial details disclosed

Novartis didn’t share any financial details of the agreement. And, according to MarketWatch, there is currently no plan in place as to how a successful combination drug would be created and sold by the two businesses.

“We’ll cross that bridge when it comes to it,” Morris Birnbaum, MD, PhD, Senior Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer, Pfizer Internal Medicine,” said.

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