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Novartis Expands Radioligand Therapy Portfolio with $1B Acquisition of Mariana

Novartis strengthens expands its radioligand therapy arsenal with the acquisition of Mariana Oncology in a $1 billion deal. With this strategic move, Novartis has become a key player in the radioligand therapy (RLT) field, adding Mariana's RLT programs to its existing pipeline, including MC-339 for small cell lung cancer.

Novartis currently sells two approved radiopharmaceuticals, Pluvicto and Lutathera. Additionally, the company recently opened its largest RLT manufacturing facility in Indianapolis.

A significant step for Novartis

“The acquisition of Mariana Oncology reflects our commitment to radioligand therapy as one of our company’s key technology platforms and strengthens our leadership in this field. We are excited to work with the Mariana team to bring forward next-generation RLTs for patients living with cancer and together shape the future of RLT as a pillar for oncology treatment,” said Fiona Marshall, President of Biomedical Research at Novartis.

Mariana Oncology is a preclinical-stage biotechnology company specializes in developing novel radioligand therapies.  Their portfolio includes a range of RLT programs targeting solid tumor indications such as breast, prostate, and lung cancer. Of particular interest is their lead development candidate, MC-339, an actinium-based RLT currently under investigation for small cell lung cancer treatment.

Radiopharmaceuticals in Cancer Treatment

RLTs, also known as radiopharmaceuticals, represent a groundbreaking approach to cancer therapy. These treatments combine a tumor-targeting molecule (ligand) with a therapeutic radioisotope, allowing for precise delivery of radiation to cancer cells while sparing healthy surrounding tissue. By binding to specific receptors on tumor cells, RLTs effectively disrupt cellular function, inhibit growth, and may induce cell death, offering new hope for patients with challenging-to-treat cancers.

“As pioneers in radioligand therapies, we are dedicated to building on our scientific leadership and expanding the breadth of these potentially transformative treatments to a broader range of cancer types,” said Shiva Malek, Global Head of Oncology for Biomedical Research at Novartis. “This acquisition brings to Novartis phenomenal talent and new capabilities in RLT research that complement our wide-ranging internal efforts to explore novel isotopes, combinations, disease areas, and more.”

The Future of Radiopharmaceuticals

Novartis has two approved radiopharmaceuticals, Pluvicto and Lutathera for metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer and certain types of gastroenteropancreatic neuroendocrine tumors. The acquisition of Mariana Oncology not only brings valuable expertise and innovative RLT programs to Novartis but also highlights the growing interest in radiopharmaceuticals within the pharmaceutical industry.

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