Novartis has demonstrated its commitment to the vaccine market with a $500 million (600 million Swiss francs) global licensing deal for Switzerland's Cytos Biotechnology's anti-smoking vaccine. Cytos gains 35 million Swiss francs up front for CYT002-NicQb, which is scheduled to go into late-stage trials in 2008. The rest of the money will be paid in scheduled milestones for a successful development program. Novartis takes over all development costs and responsibilities. NicQb works by spurring the development of antibodies that attach to nicotine molecules, making them too big to penetrate the blood-brain barrier, thereby reducing nicotine stimulation.
"The vaccine market, including therapeutic vaccines, represents an increasingly attractive segment of the health care market and is an additional source of growth for large pharmaceutical companies," comments Dr. Mark Dyer, EVP Business Development of Cytos Biotechnology.