In a bid to expand presence in the cell therapy space, Novartis (NVS) recently announced that it has entered into a global licensing and research collaboration agreement with privately-held biopharmaceutical company, Regenerex.
As per the agreement, Novartis will gain access to Regenerex’s proprietary stem cell based therapy platform Facilitating Cell Therapy (FCRx) which is being evaluated for kidney transplantation.
The stem cell based therapy aims to induce stable immunological tolerance in kidney transplantation. Additionally, FCRx can also be evaluated for the treatment of serious genetic deficiencies such as inherited metabolic storage disorders and hemoglobinopathies.
The addition of FCRx will expand Novartis’ existing cell therapy portfolio which already has two cell therapy platforms - HSC835 and CTL019. Both are being evaluated for hematological malignancies.
While HSC835 is being evaluated in patients with high-risk hematological malignancies in a phase I study, CTL019 is being developed in a phase II study for the treatment of acute lymphoblastic leukemia and chronic lymphocytic leukemia.
We note that apart from stem cell therapy based treatments, Novartis also markets a drug - Glivec, which is approved for the treatment of ALL and chronic myeloid leukemia.
While Celgene is carrying out research on stem cells derived from the human placenta as well as from the umbilical cord for the treatment of different diseases, Pluristem develops placenta-based cell therapies using the company’s proprietary PluriX therapy.
Novartis currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Right now, Jazz Pharmaceuticals (JAZZ) looks well placed with a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).
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