Novartis has entered an agreement to acquire Cadent Therapeutics, a Cambridge, Massachusetts based neuroscience company. The acquisition adds two new clinical stage programs to the Novartis neuroscience portfolio, one for schizophrenia and the other for movement disorders. The agreement also includes a buyout of milestones and royalties for MIJ821, a clinical stage molecule that Novartis licensed exclusively from Cadent in 2015. Novartis is actively developing MIJ821 for treatment resistant depression. Under the terms of the agreement, Novartis will acquire all of the outstanding capital stock of Cadent, in exchange for an upfront payment and milestone payments. Cadent and Novartis anticipate the transaction will close during the first quarter of 2021.
Schizophrenia affects millions of people globally. The symptoms are commonly described as “positive” or “negative,” as defined by whether they introduce exaggerations or distortions of reality, such as hallucinations (“positive”) or because they represent a reduction in social and emotional response, such as the inability to engage or feel pleasure (“negative”). Cognitive deficits such as impaired attention and executive function are also commonly experienced. New therapies are needed to address the negative and cognitive symptoms of schizophrenia, which significantly impact a patient’s ability to maintain relationships and fully function in society. The Phase I schizophrenia program included in the acquisition, CAD-9303, could potentially help fill this critical need.
The experimental therapy for depression, MIJ821, is currently being tested in a Phase II trial overseen by Novartis. The compound selectively modulates a subset of NMDA receptors that have been linked to depression biology. It is being developed as a potential therapy for treatment-resistant depression to help the significant number of patients who do not respond to existing depression therapies. The third program, CAD-1883, is a Phase II asset and is being explored for movement disorders.
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