Epistem agrees huge deal with Novartis

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BIOTECHNOLOGY company Epistem has signed a multi-million pound research and development deal with pharma giant Novartis.

The agreement, announced today, will see the Manchester-based stem cell research company work with Novartis to identify new drug targets and therapeutics across a range of disease areas.

Novartis will pay Epistem £2.8m upfront in cash and provide two years of research funding.

It will have an option to exclusively license targets for development of biotherapeutic products in exchange for license fees, milestone payments and royalties.

For each product developed from targets licensed under the agreement, Epistem will be paid up to £31.5m in milestone payments. It will also receive additional royalties on worldwide sales for any leads that are commercialised.

Matthew Walls, chief executive of Epistem, said: “The collaboration will enable us to accelerate the development of our existing targets with a world class pharmaceutical collaborator and to jointly explore disease opportunities in regenerative medicine”.

Shares increased by 13.5% to 272.50p on the news.

Epistem, which is listed on AIM, was spun out of Christie Hospital’s Paterson Institute in 2000.

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