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Novartis to acquire Calypso Biotech and CALY-002 therapeutic antibody

Novartis will acquire Calypso Biotech, a developer of Interleukin15 (IL-15) targeted therapies, for US$250 million plus a further $175 million based on the achievement of certain predetermined milestones.

Calypso, a spin-out from Merck, is focused on the research and development of monoclonal antibodies for an array of autoimmune indications, with expertise in IL-15 biology. IL-15 is a broad, untapped immune axis that controls barrier function and downstream immune cascades in many chronic autoimmune diseases. Calypso’s lead product candidate, CALY-002, is a potential best-in-class therapeutic antibody that binds to and neutralizes Interleukin-15.

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Structure of human Interleukin15

The acquisition gives Novartis full rights to CALY-002. Novartis intends to further explore CALY-002 across a wide variety of auto­immune indications with high unmet medical need. CALY-002 is currently being evaluated in a Phase 1b trial in patients with Celiac Disease and Eosinophilic Esophagitis.

Commenting on the acquisition, Alain Vicari, Chief Executive Officer & Co-Founder, Calypso, said: “We are excited for this transaction with Novartis, a company with relentless commitment to the development of innovative therapies for autoimmune conditions. As part of the Novartis portfolio, CALY-002 is in the best position to be developed effectively, so that it can promptly address unmet medical needs in multiple indications.”

Bernard Coulie, Chairman, Calypso, commented: “The transaction with Novartis constitutes the high point in the development path of CALY-002 for the Calypso team. Calypso has established a significantly de-risked profile for CALY-002 as a potential best-in-class therapeutic anti-IL-15 antibody”

Richard Siegel, Head of Immunology Research at Novartis, commented: “Novartis is committed to bringing innovative treatment options forward for patients living with immunological diseases. We’re thrilled to add Calypso’s potential best-in-class antibody to our Immunology pipeline and explore it in a spectrum of autoimmune indications.”