4:20 PM
 | 
Jul 11, 2018
 |  BC Extra  |  Company News

Novartis drops antibiotic, antiviral research

Novartis AG (NYSE:NVS; SIX:NOVN) is exiting antibacterial and antiviral research, according to an emailed statement from the company.

The pharma plans to cut headcount at the Emeryville, Calif., campus of Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research (NIBR) by about 140 and is in discussions to out-license its preclinical programs, as well as antibiotic LYS228. According to ClinicalTrials.gov, LYS228 is in a pair of Phase II trials to treat complicated intra-abdominal infection (cIAI) and complicated urinary tract infection (cUTI).

"While the science for these programs is compelling, we have decided to prioritize our resources in other areas, where we believe we are better positioned to develop innovative medicines that will have a positive impact for patients," Novartis said in the statement.

Novartis spokesperson Eric Althoff said 150 staffers will remain in the San Francisco Bay Area across the Novartis Institute for Tropical Diseases (NITD) and other functions.

The announcement comes a month after FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb proposed ways to incentivize pharma and VC investment in antibiotic R&D, including a commercial model for antibiotics by de-linking revenue from unit volume (see "Emergency Preparedness").

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