Novartis buys IFM subsidiary for $90M+; set to develop STING antagonist program that targets immune system

Novartis on Wednesday announced it is purchasing IFM Due, a subsidiary company of IFM Therapeutics in a deal that includes $90 million in upfront payments and could be worth up to $835 million if milestones are met.

The move comes after the Swiss biopharma firm, whose U.S. headquarters is in East Hanover, funded research with a focus on developing small molecules that inhibit the cGAS-STING pathway at the subsidiary in 2019.

Under the terms of an option exercise Novartis laid out at the time, IFM received $90 million in upfront payment and will be eligible for up to $745 million in milestone payments, adding up to $835 million in total consideration.

The acquisition provides Novartis with full rights to IFM Due’s portfolio of STING antagonists, which have the potential to treat an array of serious inflammation-driven diseases characterized by excessive interferon and other pro-inflammatory cytokine signaling.

“The acquisition of IFM Due represents the culmination of a highly productive, four-year preclinical collaboration between Novartis and IFM to develop novel small-molecule STING inhibitors with the potential to treat a spectrum of inflammatory diseases,” Richard Siegel, global head of immunology research at Novartis, said. “We are excited to advance IFM Due’s STING program and leverage our deep expertise in inflammation science to bring forward transformative medicines that address major unmet patient needs.”