Novartis Buys Blood-Disorder Drug Owner for Up to $665 Million

Novartis AG, Europe’s second-biggest drugmaker, exercised an option to buy closely held Selexys Pharmaceuticals Corp. for as much as $665 million to gain an experimental drug to treat a rare inherited blood disorder.

Novartis decided to buy Oklahoma City, Oklahoma-based Selexys after it published promising mid-stage trial data showing a medicine called SelG1 helped patients with a painful complication of sickle cell disease, the Basel, Switzerland-based company said in a statement Monday. The $665 million deal includes an upfront sum as well as acquisition and milestone-related payments.

Novartis is looking for small targeted transactions to bolster its position in key areas rather than big acquisitions, Chief Executive Officer Joe Jimenez said in October. The company obtained the exclusive right to buy Selexys and its SelG1 medicine in 2012. Sickle cell disease affects up to 80,000 people a year in the U.S.

The drugmaker’s stock fell 1.4 percent to 70.60 Swiss francs at 9:10 a.m. in Zurich trading.

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