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Novartis purchases biotech drug company


BASEL, Switzerland A company developing a biotech drug for a heart condition that affects millions in the United States and Europe has become the latest purchase in the string of pharma acquisitions taking place over the last year.

Swiss drug maker Novartis announced Wednesday that it would pay $120 million to acquire the private U.S. company Corthera, which is developing the recombinant human peptide drug relaxin as a treatment for acute decompensated heart failure.

ADHF, which causes symptoms such as severe shortness of breath and diminishment of the heart’s ability to pump blood from the lungs, is often associated with chronic heart disease.

Under the terms of the acquisition, Novartis will gain exclusive worldwide rights to relaxin, currently in phase 3 trials, and pay up to $500 million in milestones to Corthera shareholders. The Food and Drug Administration has given Fast Track designation to relaxin, and Novartis hopes to file for regulatory approval in the United States and Europe in 2013.

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