Novartis and Novo Nordisk Partner to Commercialize Novel Insulin Sensitizer (NN622) in North America

Jul 19, 2001, 01:00 ET from Novartis Pharma AG

    EAST HANOVER, N.J., July 19 /PRNewswire/ -- Novartis Pharma AG and Novo
 Nordisk today announced an agreement on the commercialization of NN622,
 currently in development for the treatment of type 2 diabetes. Under the terms
 of the agreement Novartis acquires exclusive rights to commercialize the
 compound in the US, Canada and Mexico, with Novo Nordisk retaining certain
 detailing rights for the US. Novo Nordisk continues to be responsible for
 development and global regulatory approval. The agreement is subject to
 regulatory clearance in the US.
     Novartis will make upfront and milestone payments subject to progress
 relating to specified events, and will pay royalties. Financial terms of the
 transaction were not disclosed.
     Commenting on the agreement, Paulo Costa, president, Novartis
 Pharmaceuticals Corporation, said: "This novel compound adds further depth to
 our pipeline of projects addressing the serious and growing challenge of type
 2 diabetes and its associated risks of cardiovascular disease. The agreement
 provides a strong near-term opportunity for Novartis in the metabolic and
 cardiovascular diseases area. We look forward together with diabetes leader
 Novo Nordisk to being early in bringing the benefits of this new approach to
     Lars Almblom Jorgensen, chief operating officer of Novo Nordisk, said: We
 are very pleased with this agreement, securing a strong marketer as Novartis
 with its large, proven and dedicated sales force to support NN622 in North
 America. Its launch capabilities make it the partner of choice for Novo
 Nordisk in this area."
     NN622 is a PPAR (peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor) alpha and
 gamma agonist, which in preclinical and early clinical trials has shown
 potential to regulate blood glucose and diabetic dyslipidemia. The compound,
 in-licensed by Novo Nordisk from Dr Reddy's Laboratories, is chemically and
 pharmacologically different from presently marketed PPAR agonists.
     Increasing scientific evidence indicates that targeting both too high
 blood sugar levels and often too high lipid levels may improve treatment
 outcomes for type 2 diabetes patients. NN622 is currently in phase II clinical
 trials, and Novo Nordisk expects to complete the clinical proof of concept
 trials later this year. The compound is expected to be among the first to
 reach the market from a new generation of dual-acting sensitizers currently in
     About diabetes
     Type 2 or non-insulin dependent diabetes affects about 140-150 million
 people worldwide and is a serious disease with increasing numbers of people
 being afflicted in both first and developing world countries. According to the
 US Centers for Disease Control (CDC), more than 16 million Americans have
 diabetes, which is the seventh leading cause of death in the US and a
 contributor to heart disease, stroke, blindness, kidney disease, and
 non-traumatic leg and foot amputations. Diabetes rates in the US rose by
 approximately 6% among adults in 1999, according to CDC.
     This release contains certain forward-looking statements that can be
 identified by the use of forward-looking terminology such as "novel compound,"
 "adds further depth to our pipeline," "strong near term opportunity," "new
 approach," "look forward," "potential," "may improve", "expects," "is
 expected" and "subject to". Such statements involve known and unknown risks,
 uncertainties and other factors that may cause the actual results to be
 materially different from any future results, performance or achievements
 expressed or implied by such statement. In particular, there are no guarantees
 that the aforementioned agreement will result in a new diabetes therapy or any
 subsequent commercialization of any product in any North American market. Any
 such commercialization can be affected by, among other things, uncertainties
 relating to product research and development, clinical trials, regulatory
 actions or delays or government regulation generally, the ability to obtain or
 maintain patent or other intellectual property protection and competition in
     Located in East Hanover, New Jersey, Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation
 is an affiliate of the Novartis Group (NYSE:   NVS), a world leader in
 healthcare with core businesses in pharmaceuticals, consumer health, generics,
 eye-care, and animal health. In 2000, the Group achieved sales of
 CHF 29.1 billion (USD 17.2 billion) and invested approximately CHF 4.0 billion
 (USD 2.4 billion) in R&D. Headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, Novartis
 employs about 69,000 people and operates in over 140 countries around the
 world. For further information please consult
     Novo Nordisk is a focused healthcare company and world leader in diabetes
 care. In addition, Novo Nordisk has a leading position within areas such as
 coagulation disorders, growth disorders and hormone replacement therapy. Novo
 Nordisk manufactures and markets pharmaceutical products and services that
 make a significant difference to patients, the medical profession and society.
 With headquarters in Denmark, Novo Nordisk employs approximately 14,000 people
 in 68 countries and markets its products in 179 countries. For further company
 information visit
     Note to editors: Novartis and diabetes
     Novartis has a strong and growing commitment to diabetes. The company is
 currently in the global launch phase of Starlix(R) (nateglinide), the first
 D-phenylalanine (amino acid) derivative, for the treatment of type 2 diabetes.
 So far registered in over 50 countries worldwide, Starlix is growing good
 acceptance within the medical community as a new approach to a crucial risk
 factor of diabetes (post-prandial glucose spikes) as part of overall glucose
     In development, with phase II compounds DPP/LAF 237, the company is active
 in a new class of orally active anti-diabetics with potentially multiple
 functional effects. Novartis recently announced an agreement for worldwide
 exclusive rights to development and commercialization of Dr Reddy's insulin
 sensitizer DRF 4158 in type 2 diabetes.
     Finally, the international Novartis Award in Diabetes is one of many
 activities that Novartis is supporting to help increase awareness of and
 urgency for innovation in diabetes research, education and clinical practice.
      Contact:  Cathy Yarbrough, 973-781-5385
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SOURCE Novartis Pharma AG